Northwest NEWS

Nember 13, 2000

Front Page

Be ready for winter flooding, agencies warn

by Valley View staff
   DUVALL - This Thanksgiving weekend marks the 10th anniversary of the worst flood to ever hit the Snoqualmie Valley. A heavy weather system, coupled with a high freezing level in the Cascades inundated the Valley with water, costing one life and millions of dollars in damage.
   At the height of the flood, a Duvall man was swept away as he attempted to drive cross the flooded Woodinville-Duvall Road in the dark. His wife and 8-month-old son were plucked from the water by Duvall aid crews.
   Every year motorists get stranded trying to cross flooded roads. Even those who are longtime floodplain residents can misjudge the depth of water. Several years ago an elderly farmer tried to drive to his home on the West Snoqualmie Valley Road through the high water, but it was too deep and his engine died. He and his dogs ended up sitting in the truck all night as the water continued to rise. Rescued the next day, still sitting in a truck cab half-full of water, he contracted pneumonia and had to be hospitalized.
   The Snoqualmie River goes over its banks generally twice a year. Usually flooding occurs in November or December, but the river may flood at any time during the winter months up until the end of March. Flooding can cause a number of local roads through the Valley to flood, including NE 124th, Carnation Farms Road, Tolt Hill Road and the Monroe Honor Farm Road, as well as the West Snoqualmie River Road between Carnation and Fall City.
   Generally the only road open for Duvall residents is the Woodinville-Duvall Road which can result in an extremely long commute time especially during the evening rush hour.
   Besides warning residents not to cross flooded roads or drive around barricades, officials are encouraging residents to plan for a longer commute during times of flooding and develop alternate plans for child care pickup. Residents should also keep emergency supplies of food, water and medicine.
   Twice over the last 10 years, the Woodinville-Duvall Road has been closed, along with SR-203 between Duvall and Monroe and Carnation to Fall City. This results in the Duvall area, east of the Snoqualmie River, becoming a virtual island. The amount of closure time has varied from one night to three days.
   The city is asking residents to develop emergency plans with their family to identify where each family member should go if getting home is not possible, have alternate plans for lodging in case all roads into Duvall are closed and to keep in mind the local grocery stores may run low on some items. Power outages during storms may also occur and may last several days.
   Local officials say there is no way to predict if and when the roads may close or how long they will remain closed, emphasizing that King County Roads officials decide when the roads are to be closed and re-opened.
   During winter, residents should be observant about weather conditions and rainfall amounts, including freezing levels in the mountains. The higher the freezing level, the more water will come down the river. If the river is rising at a fast rate overnight, or in the morning, chances are there may be road closures on the morning commute or on the way home.
   To find out about road closures, check with the major radio stations before leaving for work or returning home. The King County flood line information number is 206-296-8200 or 1-800-945-9263. Residents may also call King County Roads at 206-205-9150 or toll free at 1-800-KCRoads. Internet site: http://www.