The Ravages of March
A Far-Flung Family Struck by Floods
By Khaliela Wright
It rained for forty days and forty nights. Okay, that’s not entirely accurate. Some of those days it snowed. The point is there was a lot of water all at once and it was making life miserable.
In February, we got our first taste of warmer weather in Potlatch, but ice floes filled the Palouse River and got hung up around the pilings of the Rock Creek Road Bridge. An ice jam at the bridge formed a natural dam, holding back the water. Pressure built, until something had to give. That something was the bridge. On February 24, Latah County officials declared the bridge unusable. The pressure from the ice had compromised its structural integrity and it no longer could bear loads. The road was closed, and a big sign placed on both sides of the river instructed motorists to use Flannigan Creek Road instead.
That was our first hint of trouble this spring.
March arrived with its usual ferocity. Wind, rain, and snow were followed by more wind, more rain, and more snow—and that was just in the course of an afternoon. But the wind, rain, and snow didn’t let up after the first few days this year. Foul weather held on with dogged determination.
The early days of March were filled with rain. Snow melted, the ground was saturated, the water had no place to go but up. On March 15, the commissioners declared the county a disaster area.