OMAK — City crews are still cleaning up today from a wild thunderstorm Friday that inundated Omak with rain, flooding about five blocks of downtown streets and prompting sandbagging to protect City Hall.
“It just decided right here, in this spot, to rain really, really hard in a short period of time,” said Omak Mayor Cindy Gagne.
The storm that unleashed heavy rainfall, gusty winds and hail across much of eastern Washington on Friday afternoon hit a few areas particularly hard. Grant County sustained some damage from half-dollar-sized hail and isolated flooding. Ferry County declared a state of emergency after trees, power lines and phone lines came down, knocking out electricity to much of the county.
In Okanogan County, heavy rain caused numerous mudslides, said Sheriff Frank Rogers. The highway between Omak and Riverside was closed for several hours Friday because of flooding and mudslides. The highway between Loomis and Oroville was also closed for some time while crews cleared about 15 to 20 trees knocked down by wind. One tree landed on a house, causing some damage, and several power lines were knocked down by trees.
But the worst of the storm hit Omak, where significant rain fell in a short time. At one time, water was knee deep in the downtown area as storm drains were overwhelmed.
Much of the water had receded by today, but there was still some standing water in parks, Gagne said. City crews are clearing away downed tree limbs, as well as gravel and dirt left by the flood waters.
Water was flowing over the curbs and into the parking lot at City Hall when sandbags were used to keep the building from flooding.
Gagne said the city will have to make repairs along some city streets, but she did not know of any major road or building damage caused by the flooding.
Michelle McNiel: 664-7152