Updated 9:36 a.m.
EAST WENATCHEE — The storm front that rolled through central Washington on Thursday evening produced more than 28,000 lightning strikes across the state, fire officials reported today.
But heavy rains likely doused most wildfires sparked by the storm, including those in North Central Washington.
No significant blazes had been confirmed by this morning, said Jim Duck, coordinator for the Central Washington Interagency Communications Center. “We had numerous reports of (fire) starts,” he said, “but widespread rain pretty much handled those.”
Forest Service officials agreed that rain had dampened most lightning strikes, but that forest lands would continue to be monitored today for delayed starts.
An NWS flash flood watch continues until 5 p.m. today for Chelan and Douglas counties. A flood advisory is in effect until 9:45 p.m. today.
Thursday night’s storm entered the state in Klickitat County, on the Oregon border, and swept north to reach Chelan and Douglas counties around 8 p.m. The storm dropped varying amounts of rain, said Duck, from .02 inches near Tri-Cities to over 3 inches north of Winthrop.
In foothills west of Wenatchee, 0.63 inches fell in No. 1 Canyon in less than 10 minutes, said city Public Works Director Dan Frazier, with about 1.25 inches falling in less than an hour. The 24-hour total for No. 1 Canyon was 1.91 inches, the National Weather Service reported this morning.
Other rain totals in NCW: 1.73 inches in Winthrop, 1.29 inches in Stehekin, 1.01 inches in Chelan and 0.27 inches at Pangborn Memorial Airport in East Wenatchee.
“Right now, it looks like road washouts and debris may be more of an issue with this storm than fires,” said Duck. “But time will tell. It sometimes takes a couple of days for a lightning strike to really get started.”
Residents along Colockum and Tarpiscan roads east of Malaga were hit by another round of floods and erosion after being ravaged by fire earlier this summer. Diane Graves, a resident of the area wrote that flood waters washed trees and boulders through their yard and orchard and mud is covering Tarpiscan Road.
“We cannot get past all the debris on the road to go anywhere until the stability of the bridge and the debris is cleaned up. Mother Nature, please take a break,” Graves wrote in an online comment to a Wenatchee World update on the flooding this morning.
Contacted by phone, Graves said neighbors spent the night at her house because rising water from Colockum Creek was raging through their property. She was up most of the night. This morning, her backyard was washed out and covered with about 10 inches of new mud.
“It just never stops. We’ve had enough,” she said. Graves is trying to raise money for fire and flood victims in the area. Information about fundraising events can be found on her Facebook page or by calling her at 264-0039.
Chelan County Public Works crews were in the area this morning attempting to clear the roads, said Lauren Loebsack, Public Works spokeswoman. Loebsack said repairs made to the Colockum Creek bridge after a previous round of floods held and there appeared to be little new damage, but it will take some time to clear the roads.Colockum Road was closed at mile post 12 to all but local traffic this morning. Tarpiscan Road is closed to all traffic until mud and debris can be removed, she said.
She said one lane is open to traffic on Eagle Creek Road, and Cedar Brae reopened after fallen trees were removed from the roadway.
In Okanogan County, Highway 20 is closed west of Mazama due to mudslides and debris over the road, a state Department of Transportation website reports.
But emergency officials in Okanogan County had not been notified of any damages or mudslides prompting them to close county roads, said Sheriff Frank Rogers.
“We’ve got a lot of water everywhere, but I haven’t seen anything major,” he said.