Unusually heavy rain and a melting snowpack have pushed the Columbia River to at or near flood stage from Vancouver to Longview, according to the National Weather Service.
As of 9 am Monday, the river had reached 16.06 feet, or 16 feet and three-quarters of an inch, in Vancouver and covered a portion of the Waterfront Renaissance Trail. Flood stage in Vancouver is 16 feet, and forecasters say river levels will stay at or near that level through late Wednesday morning.
At 16 feet, minor flooding occurs, affecting islands and low-lying areas, with minor impacts on parks or trails along the river, according to the National Weather Service.
This is the highest the Columbia has crested since March 2017, when river levels reached 17.43 feet in Vancouver, according to National Weather Service data.
In Longview, the river reached 12.71 feet at 2:30 am Monday before subsiding to 11.2 feet later in the morning. The Columbia River in Longview is not expected to reach flood stage, which is 13.5 feet. Forecasts call for the river there to reach a high of just under 13 feet on Tuesday and to remain at high levels through Wednesday.
Forecasters issued the flood watch early Sunday for areas along the Columbia in the greater Vancouver and Portland metro areas, as well as along the lower Columbia and Interstate 5 corridor in Cowlitz County, the Columbian reported.
The rising river levels follow an unusually wet stretch of weather fueled by an atmospheric river of subtropical moisture, which brought 1.44 inches (3.65 centimeters) of rain to Vancouver’s Pearson Field in a 48-hour period ending Saturday evening.
OPB staff contributed to this report.