Severe flooding likely in Northwest



The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said that there is a risk of severe flooding from four rivers in the Northwest that are clogged by mudflow from the Mount St. Helens eruption.

In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee, James P. Walsh, deputy administrator of NOAA, said that the volcanic activity also impaired the National Weather Service's (NWS) ability to forecast flood conditions. He said that a system of automatic stream gages that the NWS uses to measure river and rainfall activity were lost after the eruption. The NWS, Walsh said, is now giving top priority to replacing the system. He also noted that the new system will allow the NWS to double the warning time it can give to heavily populated areas of flooding that is due to lava flow or rainfall.