Heavy rain leads to flooding in Clark and Cowlitz counties

High rivers caused the closure of several roads around the area

CLARK COUNTY — The potential for low elevation snow didn’t pan out overnight, but plenty of people around Clark County woke up to find that torrential rains overnight had pushed area rivers to the brink and, in some cases, over their banks.

A Road Closed sign blocks Rieman Road in Ridgefield due to flooding Tuesday morning. Photo by Mike Schultz
A Road Closed sign blocks Rieman Road in Ridgefield due to flooding Tuesday morning. Photo by Mike Schultz

An Area Flood Watch was issued by the National Weather Service for Clark County, as well as parts of Portland’s west hills, and Washington County. Some places reported as much as 5 inches of rain in the past 24 hours. That Flood Watch was canceled this afternoon as heavy rain ended, though some localized areas could see more rain through tomorrow morning. Wednesday is expected to be mainly dry before another wet system moves through Thursday into Friday.

Water flows over North Main Avenue in Ridgefield (note the deer running across the road in the background). Photo by Mike Schultz
Water flows over North Main Avenue in Ridgefield (note the deer running across the road in the background). Photo by Mike Schultz

In Ridgefield, crews closed several roads as creeks and rivers flowed over them. Even North Main Avenue was underwater for several hours, and Rieman Road was closed while crews cleaned up debris washed over the road.

Debris from flooding closed Rieman Road in Ridgefield for a while on Tuesday. Photo by Mike Schultz
Debris from flooding closed Rieman Road in Ridgefield for a while on Tuesday. Photo by Mike Schultz

Near Amboy, Jessica Reeves shared photos of Chelatchie Creek rising into her backyard.

Chelatchie Creek in Amboy flooding Jessica Reeves’ backyard. Photo courtesy Jessica Reeves
Chelatchie Creek in Amboy flooding Jessica Reeves’ backyard. Photo courtesy Jessica Reeves
Jessica Reeves shared this photo of Chelatchie Creek in Amboy flooding this morning. Photo courtesy Jessica Reeves
Jessica Reeves shared this photo of Chelatchie Creek in Amboy flooding this morning. Photo courtesy Jessica Reeves

In La Center, Jennie Karlsen watched as Lockwood Creek roared over its banks.

Lockwood Creek in La Center running high due to heavy rains on Tuesday. Photo courtesy Jennie Karlsen
Lockwood Creek in La Center running high due to heavy rains on Tuesday. Photo courtesy Jennie Karlsen

And in Battle Ground, Trish Merrill woke up to a new pond in her backyard as drainage fields were overwhelmed by the heavy rain and, in upper elevations, melting snow.

Trish Merrill shared this photo of floodwaters rising into her backyard in Battle Ground
Trish Merrill shared this photo of floodwaters rising into her backyard in Battle Ground

Further north, the ramp from Northbound I-5 to Kalama was closed until around 4:30 p.m. due to flooding. Washington State Police Trooper Will Finn tweeted video of the flooding, and says he was surprised to see a truck stalled out in the floodwaters.

Emergency responders around the area said that was far from the only vehicle to try and challenge raging waters, only for drivers to find themselves stuck for a while.

The city of Battle Ground posted on its Facebook page, letting residents know that sandbags are available at the Public Works Ops Center at 1308 SE Grace Avenue. Bring your own shovels. You can find up-to-date information on road closures via the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA) Facebook page here.

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About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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