Columbia River water levels 5 to 7 feet higher; causing signific - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Columbia River water levels 5 to 7 feet higher; causing significant flooding

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RICHLAND, WA - The City of Richland is warning people to be careful, as parts of Howard Amon and Leslie Groves Parks are underwater.

We spoke with Phil Pinard, the planning and construction manager for the parks and public facilities, and he says the rising water level is due to a combination of things - the recent snow melt and rainfall are two major reasons. 

The Army Corps of Engineers also has to release a certain amount of water from the dams for different salmon species, and Pinard says they released a little more than they usually do. That's why the Columbia River is sitting at about five to seven feet higher than normal.

We spoke with one man who says the river conditions threw a wrench into his plans earlier today.

"Yeah, my brother said you're not going fishing anytime soon and I said, 'why?' And he said 'well you oughta go look at the river,'" said Jeremy Johnson. "Where we go to launch our boat here is completely submerged; can't even get out to get the boat out there."

Pinard says he wouldn't recommend going out on the river right now, whether that be for boating, kayaking or swimming, as there's a lot of debris in the water and the current is strong.

Parts of Pasco are also seeing some high water, and Washington Governor Jay Inslee has called for a state of emergency for multiple counties across eastern Washington because of record flooding.

Right now, there is flooding in Ferry, Okanogan and Pend Oreille Counties. The governor's proclamation covers those counties, plus 17 others that face the threat of flooding over the next week; including Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla, Yakima, and Kittitas Counties.

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