Snoqualmie braces for floods
November 12, 2008 · 3:48 PM
Parts of Snoqualmie were evacuated Wednesday, Nov. 12, as the Snoqualmie River hit flood stage.
North Bend was not in imminent danger, though some roads were closed midday Wednesday. Fall City Fire Department had advised evacuations for 73 households.
Snoqualmie Valley School District canceled classes for the day, and after-school activities were postponed or canceled.
By noon Wednesday, Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson had declared a state of emergency due to the heavy floods.
Evacuation was recommended for residents of downtown Snoqualmie neighborhoods including Pickering Court, Walnut, Spruce, Park and Mountain Avenues, and Mountain Drive.
Water overtopped some downtown roads before noon, and the city had began its Reverse 911 calling system to alert residents to the flooding.
"Everybody is going to be affected," Larson said. Those neighborhoods not flooded could still get cut off or made harder to access by the high water.
Larson said residents should not be deceived by light rain during the day.
"It's what's happening up in the mountains that's the problem," he said.
At midday Wednesday, the river's flow was at 28,000 cubic feet per second, about 8,000 cfs above flood stage. Larson said the river was expected to crest around 10 p.m., with flows of about 63,000 cfs predicted at the Falls.
Closed roads at midday Wednesday in Snoqualmie included Northern Avenue at Pickering Court, Southeast Mill Pond Road from Meadowbrook Bridge to Tokul Road Southeast, and Southeast Reinig Road from 396th Drive to Meadowbrook Bridge.
Around the Valley
At around 1 p.m. Wednesday, the city of North Bend had not started any evacuations and did not anticipate doing so, said Mayor Ken Hearing, who was working the phones at the city's Emergency Operations Center.
"There is apparently no imminent danger," Hearing said, noting that the South Fork of the river was receding, and the Middle Fork was rising at a slower rate.
Two roads in the city were closed: Ballarat Avenue Northeast at Northeast 12th Street due to storm water runoff; and 428th Avenue between the North Fork and Middle Fork bridges due to the Middle Fork overflowing.
"We're not out of the woods, but we're feeling a little more comfortable," Hearing said.
Dozens of volunteers helped with sandbagging efforts including a three-row-high wall behind Mount Si Senior Center, Hearing said.
By 1:30 p.m., Fall City firefighters had advised about 73 households nearest the river and in hard-to-access places to evacuate, said Captain Ken Larson.
The campground was also voluntarily evacuated.
"We have a long way to go before we crest," Larson said. Firefighters planned to gear up for a flood operation.
In Valley school activities, the state girls soccer play-off game was postponed until 7 p.m. Thursday at Mount Si High School. In the event the high school cannot be used, this event may take place at Issaquah High School. The soccer play-off location was to be confirmed Thursday. Mount Si soccer and volleyball were to practice Wednesday afternoon at Twin Falls Middle School.
If school is cancelled Thursday, Nov. 13, the high school band trip to Sammamish will also be cancelled.
The school district planned to let residents know by 5:30 a.m. whether there would be school on Thursday, Nov. 13.
'We need to evacuate'
"They told us we needed to evacuate," said Jesse Holen, a resident at the Park Street trailer park in Snoqualmie. The river had reached about two feet from his home by the time Holen had packed his car.
"I've got a 19-month-old kid in the house; I can't gamble," said Holen, who planned to seek shelter by calling an emergency number.
"We're taking out everything," said Carlos Fernandez, who also lives at the trailer park. "We lost a lot last time: TVs, everthing."
He lived through the last flood in 2006.
"This is the last time," Fernandez said.
Snoqualmie Ridge resident Kathleen Keating spent Wednesday morning in the rain, sandbagging at the King Street parking lot in Snoqualmie with her family. The bags were used by residents who needed them, including North Fork resident Mike Ylenni.
"It's coming in my yard," said Ylenni. The water was breaking in waves on his property. Sandbags could help protect it.
Keating, whose children also worked in the rain to prepare sandbags, said her Ridge residence was safe from flooding. Still, she planned to keep filling "till my body can't."
"I've seen lots of people turning around and coming back," said Judy Peacock, a resident of Northern Street in Snoqualmie. That street was already covered with water a few doors down. She didn't plan to leave. A resident for a few months, Peacock said her landlord told her her home doesn't flood.
Temporary daytime shelter is available at the Snoqualmie Fire Station at 37600 S.E. Snoqualmie Parkway. An overnight shelter, if needed, will be established at Twin Falls Middle School at 46910 S.E. Middle Fork Rd. in North Bend.
Parking is available at the Community Park parking lot on Snoqualmie Ridge and on Ridge Street in front of Cascade View Elementary School.
In Snoqualmie, assistance may be obtained by calling the Snoqualmie Emergency Operations Center, (425) 888-5911. Questions may be directed to (425) 888-1551.
The North Bend Emergency Operations Center can be reached at (425) 888-0486, option #1.
Real-time river level and flood information resources are available on the King County Flood Warning System Web site at www.kingcounty.gov/flood.
A recorded King County flood-information hotline is updated each hour, at (206) 296-8200 or (800) 945-9263.
Emergency updates are posted on the Regional Public Information Network (RPIN) Web site, www.rpin.org.
Road closure updates are available on the King County Web site, www.metrokc.gov/kcdot/roads/roadalert/default.aspx.
Tips on staying healthy during a flooding disaster are available at www.osha.gov/OshDoc/flood-tornado-recovery.html#fact