Bucoda Recovering After Near-Record Overnight Flooding

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Bucoda residents awoke Friday morning to Skookumchuck River floodwaters inundating their roadways, though emergency operation center operators, fire staff and volunteers were waiting for sunlight to assess the damage. 

James Fowler, the Bucoda Fire Department chief, said it’s likely the river crested about 4 a.m. Friday at 215.9 feet -- just 0.1 feet below the 1996 records, though time will tell if this year’s flood was a record or not. 

“It is, from historical data I know, as bad as the ‘96 flood. It's not as bad as the 2007 flood. It is as bad as the 2007 flood as far as the water height, but I believe more people have been prepared this year than they have in year's past," Fowler said. 

Roadways east of Nenant Street were overwhelmed with water, anywhere from 8 to 10 inches, while areas south of 8th Street likely had upwards of 4 feet, Fowler said. Volunteers have been able to wade through shin-high water, though. It’s not yet clear how many houses have sustained flood damage. 

Many residents in the Thurston County town of 668 people are riding out the storm from their homes, Fowler said, or they’ve left town to go stay with friends or relatives. 

The Bucoda Fire Department rescued one person Friday morning from his Ford pickup truck after attempting to drive through high waters. 

The Skookumchuck River at Bucoda was the first location in the Chehalis Basin to reach “major flood” designation when it surpassed 215 feet. The Chehalis River at Grand Mound and the Skookumchuck at Centralia are forecast to enter into “major flooding” later this morning. The Newaukum River’s flood waters at Chehalis were beginning to recede Friday morning after briefly cresting into “major flood” designation.

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