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Clearwater River rising waters has residents concerned

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Flooding concerns are very real for those living right next to the river banks. Residents in Orofino and the Clearwater valley are keeping an eye on the Clearwater River.

In some areas it’s only about a foot off the road, and in other areas it’s already come onto people’s property. And the high levels have residents wondering, how much more could the water rise.

Orofino resident Ray Baldwin’s trailer is usually around ten-feet away from the banks of the Clearwater River, but now, he’s just feet away from the fast moving water.

“We’re at the lowest point in the park and I’m concerned. It’s worth keeping an eye on, and I didn’t work tonight because of my concerns here.”

He said as far as he knows, the bank is stable but there is still a concern.

“What’s concerning is a log coming down on this side of the river, and smashing into this corner right here, and dislodging rock and stuff on the bank, causing some erosion.”

Ray grew up in the area, but left for almost two decades. He returned a few years ago.

The area flooded in 1995 but on Thursday it was a little too close for comfort. “This is the highest I’ve seen it since I’ve been back,” he said.

His number-one concern is keeping his home intact, and his family safe, especially with the possibility of storms from the south rolling in over the next few days.

“I don’t know, it’s just a wait and see. Hopefully all that we see here to the south of us will pass over, and it’ll be gone and it won’t affect the river that much more. Hopefully.”

Out near Stites, flooding has started to engulf one resident’s property, and on the other side of the river, it’s only a foot and a half away from covering the roadway.

According to the National Weather Service, the Clearwater crested at 16.32 feet in Orofino Thursday afternoon. Flood stage for the area is at 17 feet. Since then, the Clearwater River has receded and the latest numbers show it at 15.18 feet.

The waters are expected to keep receding over the next few days.

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