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Floodwaters isolate towns, close roads

A crane moved a huge log from one side of the Woodinville/Duvall Road to the other last Friday, disrupting traffic for about an hour. The floating log had threatened a natural gas pipeline along the road.
Photo by Lisa Allen/Valley View.

flooding by Lisa Allen
Major roads were closed last week, making islands of Carnation and Duvall, after floodwaters flowed over roadways and threatened bridges.
   The Snoqualmie River crested Wednesday evening, Nov. 29, at 60.2 feet in Carnation, compared to 60.7 feet for the 1990 flood. Winter flood stage is 54 feet.
   Valley farmers scurried to get their cows to "critter pads," mounds that are raised high enough for protection from the water.
   By early afternoon Wednesday, a line of cars was slowly making its way across to Duvall on the Woodinville/Duvall Road, which was due to be closed to prevent a repeat of the 1990 tragedy in which a resident drowned after his car was swept away by rising water.
   Public works crews were also concerned over the safety of the bridges on the road, which appeared to be in danger of being undermined.
   The Woodinville-Duvall closure, which came at 3:30 p.m., stranded some people in Duvall, one of whom simply stopped at the post office, then couldn't get out.
   Water had already covered the roads to Monroe and Carnation, so when the Woodinville/Duvall Road was closed, the town was cut off. Some residents of Duvall and Carnation, who didn't make it home in time, were stuck watching on the other side of flooded roads.
   The Red Cross had set up a shelter at the Duvall Church, where 35 people checked in, said church secretary Patricia Blair.
   "Two Red Cross representatives were here," she said. "Twenty-five people spent the night in the building, and we found private homes to take care of 10 more who had small children. The Red Cross had borrowed some cots from the fire department and set up small areas in the Sunday School rooms to give people a little space."
   One family even cooked dinner and breakfast for everyone, she said.
   "We had so many nice people calling to offer help."
   Those who didn't eat breakfast at the church headed for the Duvall Cafe across the street, said cafe owner Patty McGee. "Business was great," she said.
   By Thursday the cafe was out of just about everything and hopes were high that their order would come through as soon as the roads opened up, said Alana McCoy, who helps out at the restaurant.
   "All the bread and most of the milk at the grocery store was sold out."
   The road to Carnation and Fall City opened Thursday afternoon, and King County Public Works crews were inspecting the bridges on the Woodinville/Duvall Road. The road opened to traffic Thursday afternoon when it was determined that four overflow channel bridges across the valley were safe for travel.
   The support piers for the overflow bridges are suffering erosion, one at the rate of a foot of scour per year, according to engineers. INCA Engineers, a local civil engineering firm, was called in to provide emergency soundings of the piers to determine the level of scour.
   The current was too fast for the county to use a rod or probe to determine the amount of erosion.
   "We went out there with our echo sounder equipment," said Bob Custer, survey department manager for INCA Engineers. "We had it ready to go, which enabled us to respond as soon as the county called."
   But on Friday afternoon, motorists who expected to see the Woodinville/Duvall Road open were dismayed to find it blockaded once again for approximately one hour.
   Public works crews had discovered a huge log floating alongside the road,threatening a natural gas line. A crane was called in to lift the log from one side of the road to the other.
   The road to Monroe was still closed, as were cross-valley roads, so motorists unwilling to wait had to go all the way to Fall City if they needed to leave town.
   Last week's flood, although it caused widespread damage and inconvenience, still came up a bit shy of the devastating 1990 record breaker, at least in the Snoqualmie Valley, said King County public works officials.