The Wenatchee World



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Highways still closed this morning

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Update, 6:30 a.m. Friday: A 25-mile stretch of Highway 20 between Twisp and Okanogan and 10 miles of Highway 153 northwest of Pateros remain closed this morning due to mudslides.

A section of highway 97 north of Orondo that was closed Thursday night by flooding and a mudslide is open this morning. 


Homes along Highway 153 have been damaged and flooding and debris slides have been reported across parts of North Central Washington as severe thunderstorms moved across the region.

Flash flooding has closed Highway 20 between Twisp and Okanogan, and Highway 153 south of Twisp. A slide has also reportedly closed Highway 97 near Orondo and several reports of rocks in the roadway have been reported on Highway 97A.

The fire management team overseeing wildfires burning in Okanogan County reported on Facebook just before 9:30 p.m. that their base camp had been hit by flash flooding.

Flash flooding has impacted our fire operations and incident command post. We are ensuring all resources are accounted for, and that everyone has a dry place to sleep,” the team wrote.

Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said homes along Highway 153 were damaged by mudslides He said the highway is closed for a stretch of two miles, but he didn’t know where. Deputies were trying to reach the residences. He said there were no reports of injuries from the slides.

Highway 20 is also closed from milepost 204 to 229 due to rocks and mud over the roadway, a state Department of Transportation alert said.

Okanogan County Emergency Manger Scott Miller said a different mudslide hit an occupied vehicle, and he did not know whether anyone was injured.

A fire crew and the National Guard were called to the scene, he said.

Miller said the flooding was reported in Benson Creek, and the storm was moving northeast toward the Chiliwist Valley.

A Rivercom dispatcher in Wenatchee said problems are being reported throughout the county, includes rocks and slides, and lightning strikes and possible flooding in areas burned by wildfires this summer.

Flash flood warnings are in effect for Okanogan County until 10:15 p.m. tonight, and a flash-flood watch covers all of Chelan and Okanogan counties and parts of Douglas County, according to the National Weather Service.

People in the area are advised to move away from recently burned areas, as heavy rains can trigger rockslides, mudslides and debris flows.

Locations expected to experience flooding include the Okanogan Valley from Pateros to Omak, and the Methow Valley from Pateros to Mazama.

Reach K.C. Mehaffey at 509-997-2512 or . Read her blog An Apple a Day or follow her on Twitter at @KCMehaffeyWW.