NASELLE - The Naselle River has burst its banks and flooded over State Routes 4 and 401. Naselle school students were sent home at 10 a.m. Wednesday before travel became difficult.
Water covers both lanes of the roadway of U.S. Highway 101 in Raymond, impeding traffic.
The Pacific County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been activated in response to the extreme rain and flood events. The EOC will remain activated on a 24-hour basis until further notice, officials advised at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
The Willapa River is expected to crest above flood stage sometime between 4 p.m. Wednesday and 4 a.m. Thursday. The Naselle River continues to rise, with many residents affected. For example, Phil Raistakka's dock, which survived many floods, was reported carried away earlier Wednesday.
Residents living near either the Willapa or Naselle rivers are cautioned to expect rising river conditions and possible flooding. Residents who are concerned about their personal safety are encouraged by EOC to evacuate before sunset at approximately 5 p.m. Wednesday.
"Residents are cautioned to use their own best judgment as to whether to remain in their homes or to evacuate," EOC advised. Anyone needing evacuation assistance should call the following numbers:
Raymond area: 875-9340
Naselle area: 484-7340
North Cove area: 267-8340
State officials advise major rivers in Washington are rapidly rising including rivers adjacent to Interstate 5 in Lewis County. Forecasts indicate that portions of Interstate 5 could be underwater as early as this afternoon. WSDOT crews are monitoring the entire corridor and will immediately take the necessary measures to close the road if it becomes unsafe for vehicles.
WSDOT is currently putting emergency closure plans together, working on routing traffic around the closure to keep traffic moving across the state.
All three major east-west mountain pass highways through the Cascade Mountains are closed Wednesday due to avalanche danger and mudslides. Motorists should anticipate additional travel delays and road closures.
Drivers should plan for winter driving conditions in the mountain passes when they open and the potential for flooding throughout Washington.
Route information is available at the WSDOT web site, www.wsdot.wa.gov and drivers are encouraged to check conditions along their entire route. WSDOT has established a county-by-county list of road closures at: www.wsdot.wa.gov/news/update/.