• Olympic: Three Parks in One

    Olympic

    National Park Washington

Wind and Rain Damage to Olympic National Park

Elwha River in flood stage
The Elwha River at flood stage on December 3, 2007.

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News Release Date: December 4, 2007
Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005

Park crews are cutting their way through numerous downed trees today, as they attempt to access park entrance roads, make damage assessments and begin repairs. Only Kalaloch is open today, although travel is not recommended at this time.

With Highway 101 closed at Lake Crescent and Highway 112 only recently reopened, park staff has been challenged in reaching the park’s west side destinations. Earlier today, maintenance and ranger staff were ferried across Lake Crescent by boat in order to reach the park’s west side.

A summary of known damage follows.

  • Hurricane Ridge Road – Crews have cleared two rockslides from the road and are assessing possible damage to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. Wind speeds of up to 86 miles an hour were recorded at the ridge on Monday. The Heart O’the Hills campground remains closed due to earlier damage from the November 12 windstorm.
  • Elwha – The Olympic Hot Springs Road is closed at the park boundary as crews continue to assess flood damage.  

The Elwha River reached record height yesterday, when it peaked at 24.65 feet, 4.65 feet above flood stage. The previous high stage was recorded in November 1949, when the river peaked at 24.2 feet at the McDonald Bridge gage. The river rose 14 feet in the 24 hours that preceded its record-setting stage. At the river’s peak stage, 32,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water was flowing past the McDonald Bridge gage; 24 hours earlier, the flow was only 658 cfs. The river level continues to drop today and was predicted to drop below flood stage this afternoon.

Rangers report that many sites in the Altair campground have been washed away by the high flows.

  • Lake Crescent area – Highway 101 is closed around Lake Crescent between Mileposts 222 and 232; the westbound lane of Highway 101 was severely damaged when a debris flow blocked a culvert and diverted water over the road about four miles west of Barnes Point.
  • Sol Duc Road – A mudslide 5 feet deep and 60 feet wide is covering the Sol Duc Road about a half-mile south of Salmon Cascades. Damage beyond that point has not yet been assessed.
  • Hoh Road – The Hoh Road is closed, with water flowing over the road at Snyder Creek within the park as well as outside the park boundary. Just over 14 inches of rain were recorded at the Hoh Visitor Center in the past 48 hours.
  • Mora – The Mora area remains closed pending damage assessments.
  • Quinault Valley – Over seven inches of rain fell in the Quinault Valley between December 2 and 3 and high winds toppled many trees. The North Shore Quinault Road is closed by downed trees and electrical lines and crews are working today to reopen the road. The North Fork and Graves Creek Roads remain closed.
  • Ozette – The Hoko-Ozette is closed with downed trees and power lines.

Dosewallips, Staircase and Queets Roads remain closed due to previous damage and unsafe conditions. The Deer Park Road is closed for the season.

Further information about park roads and facilities will be released once it is available. 

For current road information, people should call the Olympic National Park recorded road and weather information line at 360-565-3131.

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