KAMIAH, ID – Heavy rains are inundating the Clearwater country in Idaho, with highway closures, sandbagging and evacuations.
US Highway 12 was closed from Kamiah to Greer — which is just south of Orofino — after a slide brought thousands of pounds of mud, rock and debris across the highway.
The slide happened early Tuesday morning and although equipment was able to clear a route for emergency equipment, 14 miles of the highway were expected to remain closed into Wednesday.
Heavy rain has been pounding the mountains since Monday and that’s caused additional slides on several of the local roads.
“The topsoil is just flowing down the hill. It’s bringing the deris from the trees, the rocks, some of them you’ll see a little later. Some boulders are as big as your car,” said Curt Stoke with the Idaho Transportation Department.
The Idaho County Free Press reports emergency crews have been out in several communities sandbagging.
Flooding is especially widespread around Stites, which is south of Kooskia, and the Idaho Emergency Operations Center has activated to a “Level 3” response because of the rising waters.
The Nez Peace Tribe has declared a state of emergency, warning people to be prepared for evacuations, and in a few cases, helicopters were being brought in to help residents.
The Red Cross and its partners have also been setting up emergency shelters in Kamiah.