Unusual warm weather, a healthy snowpack, and a heavy thunderstorm caused flooding and mudslides near Mazama last week. A creek carried water and debris down a steep slope that had been burned in the 2021 Cedar Creek Fire.
The swollen Twisp River set a new record, rising to 12.34 feet at the Poorman Creek Bridge gauge, surpassing the previous record of 12.06 feet in 2017. Temperatures in Mazama reached 86 degrees on May 3 and 85 degrees on May 5, then dropped by over 30 degrees to a high of 51 degrees on Saturday. Winthrop experienced even higher temperatures, with 87 degrees throughout Tuesday to Friday. A powerful thunderstorm brought 0.58 inches of rain to Mazama on Friday.
Greg Koch from the National Weather Service noted the unusual warmth for the region and urged caution in flood-prone areas. While higher elevations still had significant snow, most of the snow between 3,000 and 5,000 feet melted. Flooding affected areas near the Mazama junction, while the Twisp and Methow Rivers experienced record levels.