How new Valleyites weather their first flood season

A look at Lower Valley life through the eyes of a local.

  • Friday, October 3, 2008 4:57am
  • Opinion
How new Valleyites weather their first flood season

You can see the fear in their eyes from a mile away. They have that

smell of fear about them as they make four- hundred-dollar trips to Costco twice

a week. They have an irrational fear of running out of toilet paper. You

know who they are. The first-timers. The newbies. They just moved to

Snoqualmie Valley, and it’s their first flood season.

They are an easy mark. Their cell phones have the road conditions

on speed dial. Their computers boot up to the King County Web page.

KIRO radio is on twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. They have

reviewed their kids’ emergency procedure so many times, the kids know

it better than they do their own names.

Of course, it doesn’t help that the locals torment them mercilessly.

I guess I can understand the fun your average framer and farmer, who

work in the rain, have pulling the leg of a high techie. But I do think it is

cruel to keep referring to Noah and his ark at every opportunity. Harping on

the fact that we have had two “hundred-year” floods in the last decade

isn’t really nice either.

The local news and weather service don’t help at all. They consider

it their duty to feed the apprehension. At the first sign that the rainy season

is upon us, there are at least forty news crews up at the Falls getting that

“boy, there sure is a lot of water” shot.

I swear they could use the same shot year after year and no one would

ever know the difference. Then the helicopters start to fly. Not one, but three.

Up and down the Valley looking for the first place one of the rivers

breaches its bank. I keep waiting for Robin Williams to shout “Good

Morning, Viet Nam!”

Then the fun starts. The roads start to close. Here in the Lower

Valley, there are no surprises when Tolt Hill and 124th (Novelty flats) close.

You may think twice when Carnation Farm closes. It’s when Highway 203

starts closing between Fall City and Carnation and then between Duvall

and Monroe that the real fun begins. Now is the time to head to the store.

It is tradition at the first sight of the rivers rising that everyone in

the Valley strips the local stores. I never quite understood why the stores

look looted after an hour, when all anyone seems to buy is milk, bread and

beer. What else to you need? There are the highbrows in the neighborhood

that buy wine and Twinkies, but who is buying up all of the frozen food?

What good is that when the power goes out? But I digress …

After looting the local market, everyone prays for three things. That

all your loved ones get across the bridge before it closes, that no one who

lives in the flats loses his livelihood or his home, and that Duvall bridge

closes and we get a free holiday.

I know this is selfish, but when our neighborhood becomes an island, it

is kind of fun. No school, no work, let’s all go for a walk. Visit the neighbors.

Hang out. Kind of like a “get out of responsibility” free card. Just don’t

tell the new guys. It would ruin the fun.

Kate Russell lives between

Carnation and Duvall. You can reach her at

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