Today is the 26th day of February. In 1996, weather conditions were much different. The valley saw rain on Feb. 25 that year, followed by a high temperature of nearly 50 degrees on Feb. 26. That, coupled with snow on the ground, made for a historic flood.

But Horace Ward, senior emergency planner with the Yakima Valley Office of Emergency Management, says things look much safer this year.

"The good thing is that our forecast calls for cold temperatures for the next couple of weeks," Ward says. But he adds that while we may not see a big flood event this mont,h the flooding season will soon arrive. "So we're waiting to see what the forecast brings and once that warmer weather hits we'll start seeing all the snow melting and water levels begin to rise."
He says every year the valley experiences some flooding, so he's telling people in the flood-prone areas to prepare for high water. But Ward, like many people in the valley, is hoping for a slow warmup to spring to avoid a big rush of water.