Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a proclamation declaring a state of emergency for Okanogan County following severe rainstorms earlier this month that resulted in flash floods, mudslides and debris flows that blocked two state highways.
"My heart is with the citizens of Okanogan County, who have suffered an incredibly tough summer," Inslee said. "This proclamation ensures that every state resource is made available to help our neighbors, our businesses and our infrastructure recover from the devastating storms."
On Aug. 21, severe storms produced sudden and extreme rainfall over fire damaged areas, resulting in flash flooding, landslides and slope erosion. Debris flows blocked large sections of SR 153 and SR 20, resulting in road closures, limited access and detours during the busy summer tourism season. Additionally, the storms caused significant damage to "homes, businesses, farms, public utilities and infrastructure, in addition to road closures and detours impacting the life, health and safety of our citizens," Inslee wrote in the proclamation that was signed late Wednesday.
It's estimated the cost to fix the roads will exceed $800,000. The Washington Department of Transportation and local jurisdictions are coordinating resources to repair the damage to the roads and continue to assess the damage caused by the storms.
The proclamation signed by Inslee directs state agencies and departments to utilize state resources to do everything reasonably possible to assist affected areas in responding to and recovering from the event. The proclamation will also help in an effort to secure federal highway dollars to repair the road.