A flood emergency has been declared for Washington’s Benton County because of rising waters on the Yakima River.
As of 11 a.m. Tuesday (Jan. 18), Benton County Emergency Services officials said the river at the Kiona gauge in Benton City rose to 12 feet, just a foot below flood stage, KEPR-TV, Pasco, Wash., reported.
The National Weather Service expects the river to crest near 15.4 feet tonight or early Thursday.
County officials predicted: if your property was flooded in 2009, you would likely see flooding again this week.
As the Yakima River rose Tuesday morning, people living at the Beach RV Park on Abby Road in Benton City were warned to move to higher ground. RV Park Manager Gloria Black said safety was her first priority. “We don’t want anyone to get hurt.”
Resident Vicky Jones said, “People are nervous and scared so they pulled their trailers out and moved to the other side.”
One of the first to evacuate was Debbie Cruser, whose waterfront property was soon likely to be covered by water. Within the RV park, her trailer sat on the spot closest to the river. “It’s very frustrating and it’s difficult,” she said. “At least it’s a mobile travel-trailer so I get to move it real quick.”
One by one, Cruser’s neighbors started packing their belongings, too, moving valuables into cars and hauling their trailers to higher ground.
For many, this scenario was old hat. Although it’s not likely to get anywhere near the floods of ’96, people were quick to help each other out.
“Everyone’s been pretty good and pulled together,” Jones explained.
Some residents who lived out of the immediate flood area, like Beth Holloway, walked down to the river to survey the waters just in case. “We have a bag packed by the door so we can just run out the door if we need to,” Holloway explained.
Unlike the terrible floods in years past, these waters are supposed to go down within a day.
“I just hope it lasts a couple of days and goes down,” Cruser said, “So I get my spot back.”