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Snoqualmie residents warned to be ready
SNOQUALMIE _ During the past 10 years local residents have
submitted more than $5 million in insurance claims after a swollen
Snoqualmie River overran its banks and flooded neighborhoods in 1990, 1995
City officials are worried that with three rather uneventful rainy
seasons, homeowners may not be prepared for another flood. So to help educate
residents about how they can protect their families and homes from high
waters, they have organized an educational workshop for Thursday night at
"November is the time for flooding," said Rhonda Montgomery,
permit administrator for the city. "It's happened historically in
November. We've pretty much skated by the past three years." She added that
unlike recent years, when the El Nino and La Nina weather systems limited
the amount of rain in the Puget Sound region, forecasters are calling for a
wetter-than-normal fall and winter.
It is the first time the city has organized a workshop for
residents. Montgomery said city staff will be on hand for the event, which runs from
6 to 8 p.m., as will representatives from King County Red Cross, the state
Department of Ecology, the Federal Emergency Management Agency
and the Army Corps of Engineers. Those representatives will address
specific questions residents have and provide informational material.
"It's more of a drop-in [workshop], and we'll have display boards up
so people can look at those, and there'll be brochures, Montgomery
said. "We're just hoping it will be an opportunity to hand out some
information and help [residents] get prepared.
"Even if one person's house gets flooded, it's devastating," she said.
Many of the discussions will center around the National Flood
Insurance Program, which provides insurance to homeowners across the
United States. According to Montgomery, there are approximately 485
flood-insurance policies in Snoqualmie. The city has 630 homes and 36
commercial buildings in its floodplain.
She said an average policy costs about $520 per year, and that
includes a 20 percent discount granted by the federal government. Using a
community-rating system, homeowners can receive discounts on their
flood-insurance policies if a city takes steps to limit damage caused by
flooding. Rates for insurance policies depend on where a home lies in the city's
floodplain or floodway.
Snoqualmie received its discount after installing an emergency
warning system, moving the police station to Snoqualmie Ridge, which places it
out of the floodplain, and helping to elevate buildings one foot above
flood elevation. In addition the city sends newsletters to residents and
compiles an annual floodplain management progress report.
Also on Thursday, Snoqualmie Mayor Randy "Fuzzy" Fletcher
will proclaim November as "Flood Awareness Month" and take part in a
media event that will discuss hazard mitigation. The event, which is open to
the public, is scheduled to include a tour of a house that has been elevated
to keep it above flood waters. The media event will begin at 3:30 p.m.
Montgomery said the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program has allowed
the city to assist in elevating 39 homes and buy out 10 properties.