“The worst flooding in decades” in Ferry County in northeastern Washington has meant upended roads, a home sliding into a river and highways with deep, zigzag cracks.
What has been described “as the worst flooding in decades” in Ferry County in northeastern Washington has upended roads, slid a home into a riverbank and resulted in numerous mudslides.
In one incident, said Amy Rooker, the county’s emergency manager, “We had a gentleman driving south on Highway 21 towards Keller when he noticed that half the road was gone. He flew across the road and ended up in a yard of a house.”
On its official website, the county, population 7,700, says about itself: “Often described as one of the last frontiers of the American West, Ferry County combines a rugged mountain environment dominated by mining and logging industries with the breathtaking beauty of a wilderness retreat.”
That rugged environment has been hit by heavy snowstorms in 2015 and 2016, says Rooker, plus a windstorm in 2012 and wildfires in 2015 that downed trees.
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“It makes for a lot of soil that’s just breaking apart,” she said.
And there is more to come.
“We’re just starting our flood season,” Rooker said. “It’s still continuing to snow. We just had 6 to 8 inches of snow on Sherman Pass.”
The Facebook page for the Ferry County Sheriff’s Office is full of photographs showing in vivid detail the aftermath of all that water-saturated soil.
A photo of Deadman Creek Road shows a chunk of it simply gone as it curves.
A local resident comments about the photo, “We have to drive up Deadman a lot and are concerned that there are no markers or tape to warn of the wash out on the north side of the road. They are harder to see at night and someone who is not familiar could easily destroy their vehicle.”
Another woman writes, “Holy crap be careful.”
A posting has a long list of roads and mile markers. “CLOSED. CLOSED. DAMAGED. CLOSED. DAMAGED … ” are the one-word descriptions by each.
The images on the Facebook page continue.
A road going up a hill has a huge zigzag, widening crack across it. It looks about 4 feet deep.
A home and the road by it are surrounded by water deep enough for a salmon to flop through.
A photo shows a house tilted and partially in the San Poil River as its bank gave way.
Someone comments about this and other images, “What part of Ferry County?”
Someone else replies, “Everywhere.”
There is a posting a few days ago about Highway 21 near the county seat of Republic. “The school bus cannot get through! Sharon is trying to reach all the children.”
There is a posting from the sheriff Friday morning with a photo of Highway 395, at milepost 248.8, with a portion of the roadway simply sliced out. A road worker is in the background.
You could stand five workers on top of each other, head to toe, in that gaping hole.
A man writes, “Twenty years of driving on that road I never thought I’d see that.”