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Auburn area survives first heavy rainstorm; some minor flooding

Auburn has weathered its first severe tantrum from wet and volatile Mother Nature.

Heavy rain from a Pineapple Express brought more than three inches of rain to the Auburn lowlands last weekend, swelling the Green and White rivers, testing levees and the readiness of city flood plans.

With the exception of some minor flooding, communities treaded the high, swift river waters.

The levee system remained sound and intact from the test of the swollen Green River, according to City of Auburn inspectors. The patrols reported no concerns on the river following rounds of inspections earlier this week.

The amount of water released from the Howard Hanson Dam on Monday was expected to raise the flow in Auburn to no more than 9,000 cubic feet per second, a level that spurs levee inspections and flood warnings.

But the level on the Green River reached 9,720 cfs by 1 p.m. Monday afternoon.

“It was higher than expected,” said Sarah Miller, City of Auburn emergency preparedness manager.

City officials activated the Emergency Operations Center to Level I (monitoring) to monitor flows on the Green River, which was at Flood Phase III, meaning that minor flooding was expected in lowlands upstream from Auburn.

The activation and monitoring are precautionary only and river levels were not expected to reach flood levels inside the city limits of Auburn.

"We're confident with what we have, but we also know our limitations. This is the kind of winter that causes us the most concern," Miller said.

Miller said the city experienced some flooding from the backup of its storm draining system.

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