sheriffsmCHELAN COUNTY- The National Weather Service is forecasting warmer temperatures and possible rain next week – weather conditions that may lead to the formation of hazardous ice jams and flooding along the county’s rivers and streams.

Ice jams are formed as a result of long cold spells that cause portions of rivers and streams to freeze. Fluctuations in temperatures or water levels can break the ice into chunks, which then can jam at obstructions, including bridges or culverts, as they move downstream. Such jams dam water flows, potentially resulting in flooding upstream. If a jam releases suddenly, it then may cause a surge of flooding downstream.

After several weeks of below-freezing temperatures, some areas of Chelan County are expected next week to see temperatures as high as 40 degrees as well as rain showers. Chelan County officials warn residents living close to rivers and streams to have an emergency plan in place in case of potential flooding. In flooding situations, people may become isolated or have to evacuate their homes quickly.

Citizens are asked to consider the following list of dos and don’ts:

DO:

  •    Be prepared before a flood. Have on hand extra food and water as well as an emergency kit that includes a battery-powered radio, flashlight, candles and waterproof matches.
  •    Monitor your property near your home to determine if water accumulations are rising.
  •    If you use a private bridge to access your property, watch for debris and ice buildup at the bridge. If you own a private bridge, you are responsible for the maintenance and repair of that structure.
  •    Have a copy of your flood insurance policy handy (if applicable) in case you need to contact your insurance company.
  •    Call your local officials with any questions or to notify them of any hazards you observe. Chelan County Public Works can be reached at 667-6415. In an emergency situation, call 911.

DON’T:

  •    Do NOT walk or attempt to drive through a flooded area. Water and ice levels may be misleading due to snow accumulations. Follow the rule: Turn Around! Don’t Drown!
  •    Take precautions to protect your home but do NOT try to remove ice from the river or alter river or stream flows. Attempting to alter water flows may inadvertently damage neighboring homes and property downstream.

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