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Trucks Haul 500K Sandbags To Okanogan Valley As Emergency Prep Continues


Thousands of sand bags are being shipped to locations throughout the Okanogan Valley as crews prepare for major flooding.

Thousands of sand bags are being shipped to locations throughout the Okanogan Valley as crews prepare for major flooding.

Northwest News Network, Emily Schwing

 

It’s been a busy day along Highway 97 near Tonasket, Washington, as trucks haul sand and sandbags to communities that could be affected by extreme flooding along the Okanogan River. The river first crested last Saturday.

But residents are bracing for more.

Gov. Jay Inslee already declared a state of emergency in Okanogan and 19 other counties because of flooding in multiple rivers.

Trucks of all sizes have been driving up and down the highway all day carrying loads of sand. A few filled with furniture —presumably someone’s belongings on their way to higher ground.

“Well, we’ve already had a disaster,” said Jeff Sevigney, a public information officer for the Northeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team. “Last Saturday, the water crested over 21 feet and damaged a lot of structures, displaced a lot of people.”

Locals said the Okanogan River usually crests three times in the spring. But this second round of high water could be extreme.

Emergency Crews and volunteers in Tonasket have filled thousands of sandbags here in the last week. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is sending nearly 500,000 more. 

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