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Skokomish River above flood stage, water surrounds homes

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POTLASH, Wash. — In Mason County, there is water as far as the eye can see.

The Skokomish River and Purdy Creek usually run parallel four miles south of Potlatch but now both are overflowing and they have merged into one raging body of water.


A home surrounded by water in Mason County. (Photo: James Lynch/KCPQ-TV)

“It’s shocking.  I didn’t think anything like this existed around this area. It’s unbelievable. I would think it’s going to get worse with all this snowpack, with this rain if it continues, but it’s pretty amazing,” neighbor Debbie Kirpes said.

Amazing is not a word people living close to the river would likely use.

Homes are surrounded by water so deep they are accessible only by boat and no one knows what the owners will find once they get back inside.

Longtime residents say it’s as bad as they’ve seen in a long time and they fear it will get worse before the water begins to recede.

“I’ve noticed it come up substantially today. It’s probably five feet over the road down here. Depending on if the rain stops, probably a couple of days. But I’ve heard it’s supposed to keep raining,  so,” neighbor Josh McCoy said.

Flood stage on the Skokomish River at the town of Potlash is 16.5 feet but it was expected to crest at 17.4 feet early Thursday evening.

Pasture lands are flooded and the water quickly submerged West Bourgault Road and Skokomish Valley Road.

Two drivers tried to drive through flood waters on Bourgault Road but had to quickly retreat to escape the Skokomish.

“It’s a little deeper this year than usual, so just tried to get through to get home so now we have to go back around,” neighbor Matthew Brown said.

“When I opened my door it was already here and I still had three feet to go,” neighbor Debbie Brown said.

So, as they prepare for bed, the hope is they will wake in the morning and not see such much water surrounding their homes.

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  • Skok native

    OK, first of all it's Potlatch not Potlash and that blink of an eye neighborhood (not a town) is about 4 Miles north of Bourgault Rd next to Hoodsport on Hwy 101. I have only ever seen flooding there when the canal is high or Hwy 101 has water coming down from the hill. The areas that flood severly every year are the Skokomish Indian Reservation (Hyw 101 and Sr 106 area) and the pasture land around it. Purdy Creek runs parallel to Sr 106 and floods every year. Generally the roads that are blocked are Hwy 101 and Sr 106 at the Skokomish River bridges and Purdy Cut off Rd.. This is nothing new in this area. The creek ties into that and floods all the lowlands. Who researches this stuff before they write it?

    • Skok native

      Oh a west Bourgault Rd off of Skok Valley Rd has numerous houses that are condemed because of the floods every year. It always gets bad, every year, this is NOT news. As for the people that didn't think places like that existed, they have never been to the Skokomish Valley. Sheesh!

  • Catje

    Yes, I thought maybe they changed the spelling of Potlatch! Now back to the age-old question everybody who ever lived in the area asks: Why did the salmon cross the road?