I have been meaning to post more pictures of my rugs, but hadn’t gotten to it. Maybe next week! For now, I am going to put up some information about the floods and mudslides – not to be grim, but because it’s an easy way for me to inform friends who might be concerned about “what’s going on over there?”.
Basically there was a huge rainstorm on Thursday August 21 that hit previously burned areas hard, particularly south of Twisp and north of Carlton. Portions of highways were washed out in places – Hwy 20 going to Omak, and Hwy 153 going south to Carlton. Benson Creek valley, where we used to live, was seriously affected. The next morning, one of the first images I saw was this:
our former home at 102 Benson Creek Rd. We called the owners that morning, and the house was not actually flooded. But things were a lot worse up the road where our friends just barely saved their house from the fire a few weeks ago. I didn’t figure out until yesterday that it wasn’t just runoff from the sudden heavy rains, but that some of the dams in the Wenner Lakes up above them had breached. A huge torrent of water, mud and rocks came down and covered everything up there, and washed out the road.
There is more information about this, and pictures, on the Methow Conservancy Facebook page – “Benson Creek and Wenner Lakes Flooding”. Here is a press release from the Washington Department of Ecology yesterday:
FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY
Heavy rains in fire area collapse dams
Heavy rains on Thursday (Aug. 22) collapsed two of four public and private dams holding water in the Wenner lakes on Benson Creek six miles southeast of Twisp, the Washington Department of Ecology reports. Personnel from the Okanogan County Department of Emergency Management are on the scene with dam inspectors from Ecology.
The dams collapsed in one of the burn areas from this summer’s fires and a high volume of stormwater run-off may have caused the breaches. Thursday night a storm cell settled over the area which received about 2 inches of rain. The fires have scoured vegetation from ground that would have held back the stormwater and dead trees from the fires and debris from last night’s storm may have also clogged spillways raising waters levels beyond the dams’ capacity to hold it. The spillways normally should have been able to carry the stormwater downstream.
The Okanogan County Sheriff’s Department is notifying downstream residents of the dam breaches and will advise residents if they should evacuate. The county’s Department of Emergency Management is evaluating the dams which have not breached to determine if water should be released from them to relieve pressure on the earthen structures. The Wenner lakes hold irrigation water and are used for recreation. The dams that collapsed were not due for inspection by Ecology this year and earlier this summer, Ecology’s Dam Safety Office advised owners of all dams in burn areas of Central Washington to inspect their structures for damage from the fires that would put their dams at risk of collapse.
So the situation is that for now the 2 bigger lakes are holding but still being assessed. Our friends have evacuated with their animals. It is a total mess up there.
Also affected were friends about 2 miles north of Carlton, where Leecher Creek comes down (off of burned areas up around Leecher Mountain). There is a story about it on the Methow Valley News website. Our friend who lives above them lost her access driveway in the ravine and is now cut off, and her outbuilding down on the highway was swept away to the river, but her house is OK.
There is more, but these are the ones we are most personally concerned about, and waiting to see how it all turns out.