Water was being diverted from Mill Creek into Bennington Lake today after heavy rains drenched Mill Creek Basin Sunday.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir managers reported this morning that 3 inches of precipitation fell in the basin during the past 24 hours. Flows in Mill Creek at the diversion dam had reached 1,480 cubic feet per second when diversion operations began about 5:30 a.m. today.
As a safety precaution, roads and trails near the lake are closed, and people are being asked to avoid the area during flood operations at the dam and lake.
The National Weather Service said today an “atmospheric river” will keep a steady flow of moisture moving into the region with widespread rain over the Central Washington area this week. The rain combined with mountain snow melt is expected to result in rises on rivers and streams.
Rapidly rising rivers in the Umatilla National Forest prompted officials to warn people to use caution when traveling forest roads and trails.
The most immediate areas of concern include the Walla Walla River, the Grande Ronde River, the Umatilla River and the North Fork John Day River, officials said in a release.