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Months of rain combined with the start of mountain thaw have area hydrologists and local residents focused on swollen waterways, especially the Columbia River. Officials with the Northwest River Forecast Center are keeping daily tabs on the Columbia by documenting the amount of water coming into the river system and how that flow could change in coming weeks.

The Columbia is currently flowing more than a foot above flood stage, and even though it’s not expected to cause much damage, the high water levels make for some flooded walking paths and more frequent bridge lifts.

Hydrologist Charles Orwig explains what goes into river forecasting and the outlook for the Columbia.