Skokomish River flooding makes for hazardous driving conditions

Near SHELTON, Wash. - Do you take a chance or do you play it safe? Maybe that depends on how well you think your car will float.

The rising Skokomish River spilled water over local roadways in many places, presenting drivers with the choice of turning around or going for it.

"I would definitely not want to drive through, not with a Prius," said Sabina Krpatova, who did a u-turn after seeing a foot of water flowing over a section of Skokomish Valley Road.

"There's something about passing over flowing water over the roadway. I think at some point you have to say, well, if you get stuck what's going to happen? And I really don't want to get stuck."

Sabina and her partner had stayed the weekend at a local resort and hoped to visit the High Steel Bridge outside Shelton.

Resident Jay McNish and his family also planned to drive there. Jay's new vehicle had no trouble getting across the water.

"I just got this truck a couple weeks ago and just wanted to kind of put it through its paces," he said. But Jay acknowledged a driver can easily underestimate the current and end up pushed off the road.

The National Weather Service reports the Skokomish River near Potlatch crested early this morning at 17.3 feet. That's about ten inches above flood stage.

Enough to send water rushing across roads and cause widespread flooding of pasture land.

But people who live in the Shelton area say this is nothing unusual.

"This is pretty mild stuff compared to the really bad flooding we can get around here," said Jim Strong, who moved here in 1995. "We're lucky this is all we're dealing with after so many days of hard rain."

The water has been slowly receding throughout the day and we did not see any road closures in our travels.

A dramatic illustration of just how much water was flowing down the Skokomish River could be seen from the High Steel Bridge.

An arch truss structure built by a logging company in 1929, it's perched 420-feet above the South Fork of the Skokomish. Looking down into the canyon, you could hear the roar of muddy rapids below.

A young couple on the bridge didn't seem especially affected by the lowland flooding where they live.

In fact, Robert MacEwen kneeled on the bridge and asked Mariah Julian if she would marry him.

Mariah said yes.

Flooding? What flooding?