Winter prep | October is Flood Awareness Month | County stresses plans, important links

Flooding closes roads in the Lower Valley last winter. October is Flood Awareness Month in King County. - Seth Truscott/Staff Photo
Flooding closes roads in the Lower Valley last winter. October is Flood Awareness Month in King County.
— image credit: Seth Truscott/Staff Photo

In recognizing October as Flood Awareness Month in King County, Executive Dow Constantine and members of the King County Flood Control District today urged everyone to be sure that their preparedness for the upcoming flood season extended beyond their own home.


“We are not only asking individuals to prepare for flood season by creating or updating emergency plans for themselves and their families, we are also asking everyone to take that extra step – to reach out to your neighbors and ensure that they are also ready,” the Executive said.


"We never know when serious flooding could occur in King County,” said Flood Control District Board Chair Julia Patterson.  We only know that it will and when it comes, we will be prepared. And just as we are preparing, we are encouraging all residents today to do exactly the same."

King County offers everyone free access to KC Flood Alerts, an automated system that allows subscribers to receive customized alerts of potential flooding for any or all of King County’s six major river systems.

Immediate notifications about pending high water are sent to email, smart phone text or voicemail, providing subscribers with the maximum amount of warning about potential high water.

Find the KC Flood Alerts link at This website is a valuable preparedness resource, with all of the latest information about river levels and road conditions, plus weather reports and other critical links.

Other precautions that residents should consider include:

Buying flood insurance now; it takes 30 days for a policy to take effect, and a standard insurance policy will not cover flood damage. Contact your insurance agent or visit

Monitoring area news media for information when severe weather is predicted. Listen for alerts about evacuation routes, and monitor local road conditions and obey closure signs.

Minimizing flood damage by storing valuables and electronics higher, and by moving vehicles and equipment to high ground before flood waters rise.

Disposing of hazardous chemicals, such as lawn and gardening herbicides, at one of the county’s household hazardous waste sites to help reduce harmful contaminates in flood waters. Learn more at

When river levels rise to designated thresholds, King County's Flood Warning Center is opened and staffed around-the-clock to monitor river gages, weather data, dam operations and road closures. When warranted, staff are dispatched to address safety concerns, such as flooded roadways, and to check on flood control facilities.

King County staff mobilize and begin to gather, analyze and distribute flood warning information so that residents, businesses, property owners and emergency response officials can make important health and safety decisions.

In most locations, the County’s flood warning system provides at least two hours advance notice before floodwaters reach damaging levels. The center works in close coordination with the County's Road Services Division to give citizens up-to-date information on road closures.

During river flooding events, King County serves as a clearinghouse for information on flood conditions, operating a recorded message center with hourly updates of river gage readings, predicted flood crests, dam operations and other related information. The recorded message number is 206-296-8200 or 1-800-945-9263.

When the Flood Warning Center is open, citizens can directly contact King County staff with their flooding concerns and questions by calling 206-296-4535 or 1-800-768-7932.

Questions or assistance with flooding on smaller streams or urban drainage problems can be called in to 206-296-1900 during business hours, or 206-296-8100 after hours or on weekends.

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