COEUR d'ALENE - Heavy rain in a short period of time on Friday caused a handful of streets and intersections to be flooded in the city. Some stormwater manhole covers were lifted up from the street as torrents of water gushed up from underneath.
Terry Leigh, Coeur d'Alene's stormwater maintenance field supervisor, said the city's stormwater system was overwhelmed for about 40 minutes around noon because of the heavy rain. Leigh said it was one of the most significant amounts of rain in a short period of time he has seen in 10 years.
"It was a very large rain event, that was the cause" of the flooding, Leigh said.
He said the city responded to the area of 16th and 17th streets where they intersect Sherman and Front avenues. City crews also responded to Third Street where it intersects Front Avenue; the intersection of Lakeside Avenue and Northwest Boulevard; and to the area near the Costco Wholesale store at Neider Avenue, Leigh said.
The manhole cover at 16th and Front was surfing on top of the gushing water, and the water was flooding east from there on Front.
A house on the southeast corner of 17th and Front appeared to have been at least partially flooded as water pooled up around it.
Elizabeth Hallin, who lives one door down, said, "It just happened so fast. It was raining so hard earlier that the dogs wouldn't go outside."
At the corner of 16th and Front, Jessica Munoz was standing in front of her house on the southeast corner watching as city workers relieved the flooding.
"It looked like a swimming pool" in front, Munoz said. The water flooded parts of her front lawn, and debris in her yard left after the water receded showed how high it reached.
Keith Cook, shop manager at JoJo's Tattoo at 1522 E. Sherman, said water flooded to within 4 feet of the front door facing the busy street.
"It was like waves crashing over every time a truck went by" on Sherman, Cook said. The manhole cover was bobbing in water at 16th and Sherman, he said.
"It happened really fast," Cook said. "I was getting ready to start moving everything in towards the back of the shop."
He said he went home to get sandbags. Fortunately, it ended quickly.
"I'd say it was all done in a half hour or 40 minutes," Cook said.
The corner of Third Street and Front also saw flooding, and the manhole cover there hovered over the roadway as water gushed out from under the street.
Leigh said the manhole covers showed the intensity of the flows racing through the stormwater system.
About a block west on Front, water was flooding the street and part of The Coeur d'Alene Resort's front driveway area.
Mary Duncan, manager of Marketplace Gifts across the street from The Resort, said, "The water came within 3 feet of our door."
The water drained rapidly after city crews cleared debris from gutters in the street, she said.
Paul Bos, a meteorologist for North Idaho and Eastern Washington for the National Weather Service, said Coeur d'Alene was getting about one-tenth of an inch of rain per hour around noon.
While that's a lot of rain, he said, it's well below flash-flood levels of about 1 inch to 2 inches per hour.
Leigh said the rate of rain in downtown Coeur d'Alene was likely greater than a tenth of an inch per hour.
The weather service had issued a flood watch for Kootenai County on Thursday afternoon, and the watch ended Friday afternoon, Bos said. The Idaho Transportation Department on Friday said heavy, persistent rain in the state caused flooding issues on several highways in southwest Idaho.
Climatologist Cliff Harris, of Coeur d'Alene, said from midnight to 6 p.m. Friday, Coeur d'Alene received two-thirds of an inch of rain.
The record for the day is eight-tenths of an inch, recorded in 1934, Harris said. The city stands a good chance of getting the entire month's worth of its average rainfall in the first week of the month, he said.
Lulu Munoz, and her mother Jessica, peer out of their Front Avenue home window Friday as storm water gushes from a man hole, flooding the intersection at 17th Street.
A Front Avenue home is flooded by flooding storm water on Friday.