Chehalis River (Washington)

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Coordinates: 46°57′29″N 123°50′5″W / 46.95806°N 123.83472°W / 46.95806; -123.83472
Chehalis River
River
Chehalis River 07776.JPG
Chehalis River Valley (left), Grays Harbor (middle distance) and Satsop River Valley (along bottom)
Country United States
State Washington
Counties Grays Harbor, Thurston, Lewis
Tributaries
 - right South Fork Chehalis River, Newaukum River, Skookumchuck River, Satsop River, Wynoochee River, Wishkah River
Cities Aberdeen, Centralia, Chehalis
Source
 - elevation 1,000 ft (305 m) [1]
 - coordinates 46°27′6″N 123°17′30″W / 46.45167°N 123.29167°W / 46.45167; -123.29167 [2]
Mouth Pacific Ocean
 - location Grays Harbor, Aberdeen
 - elevation 0 ft (0 m) [1]
 - coordinates 46°57′29″N 123°50′5″W / 46.95806°N 123.83472°W / 46.95806; -123.83472 [2]
Length 115 mi (185 km) [3]
Basin 2,660 sq mi (6,889 km2) [4]
Discharge for near Satsop, WA
 - average 6,425 cu ft/s (182 m3/s) [5]
 - max 47,000 cu ft/s (1,331 m3/s)
 - min 440 cu ft/s (12 m3/s)
Mouth of the Chehalis River in Washington

The Chehalis River (/əˈhlɨs/ chə-HAY-lis)[6] is a river in Washington in the United States. It originates in several forks in southwestern Washington, flows east, then north, then west, in a large curve, before emptying into Grays Harbor, an estuary of the Pacific Ocean.

Course[edit]

The Chehalis River begins at the confluence of the West Fork Chehalis River and East Fork Chehalis River, in southwestern Lewis County. From there the Chehalis flows north and east, collecting tributary streams that drain the Willapa Hills and other low mountains of southwestern Washington. The South Fork Chehalis River joins the main river a few miles west of the city of Chehalis. The Newaukum River joins the Chehalis River at Chehalis, after which the river turns north, flowing by the city of Centralia, where the Skookumchuck River joins. After Centralia, the Chehalis River flows north and west, collecting tributaries such as the Black River, which drains the Black Hills to the north, the Satsop River and Wynoochee River, which drain the southern part of the Olympic Mountains.

The Wynoochee River joins the Chehalis near Montesano, after which the Chehalis River becomes increasingly affected by tides and widens into Grays Harbor estuary. The city of Aberdeen lies at the mouth of the Chehalis River. Just east of Aberdeen, the Wishkah River joins the Chehalis, and just west, between Aberdeen and Hoquiam, the Hoquiam River joins. At this point the river has become Grays Harbor. Before the estuary of Grays Harbor empties into the Pacific Ocean, the Humptulips River joins.

Flood history[edit]

December 3, 2007 floods[edit]

During the Great Coastal Gale of 2007, a twenty-mile (32 km) stretch of Interstate 5 was closed between exits 68 and 88 because of flooding from the Chehalis River, causing the roadway to be under about 10 feet (3.0 m) of water. The recommended detour added about four hours and 280 miles (450 km).[7] It was not expected to reopen for several days.[8] However, upon breaching a dike on Dec. 5, 2007,[9] the water receded quicker than anticipated. Amtrak train service between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia was also disrupted.[10] Washington governor Chris Gregoire declared a state of emergency on December 3.[11]

January 7, 2009 floods[edit]

During the January 7, 2009 Pacific Northwest storms, a twenty mile (32 km) stretch of Interstate 5 was closed between exits 68 and 88 because of flooding from the Chehalis River, causing the roadway to be under several feet of water. Since the main east/west mountain passes were also closed during this event, the flooding from the Chehalis river essentially cut off traffic to the Puget Sound area and no detour was available.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Google Earth elevation for GNIS coordinates.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Chehalis River, USGS, GNIS
  3. ^ Chehalis River, The Columbia Gazetteer of North America
  4. ^ Overview of the Chehalis River Basin, Chehalis River Council
  5. ^ Water Resource Data, Washington, 2005, USGS.
  6. ^ Phillips, James W. (1971). Washington State Place Names. University of Washington Press. ISBN 0-295-95158-3. 
  7. ^ "Lane Of I-5 Could Reopen For Commercial Vehicles Tonight". KPTV, Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  8. ^ "I-5 near Chehalis may be shut down for days". KATU, Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  9. ^ "WSDOT crews to breach dike to help drain flood waters from I-5". KATU, Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  10. ^ "Rain floods streets; mudslides shut down Amtrak". The News Tribune. Retrieved 2007-12-06. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Proclamation by the Governor" (PDF) (Press release). State of Washington Office of the Governor. December 3, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 

External links[edit]