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FEATURE NEWS

STORM FRONTS MAY BRING MAJOR FLOODING TO SKY VALLEY TODAY
November 12, 2008




Unidentified man climbs traffic sign pole in downtown Sultan as flood waters move in


Sultan high students pitch in with adults in filling sandbags at 6th & Main


Man talks on phone at Loggers Inn in Sultan as flood waters move into downtown core


View of downtown Sultan flooding Sultan River Park. Large statue of Sultan John visible in foreground


Local kids watch flood waters rise in downtown Sultan


Downtown Sultan in late afternoon. Flood waters continue to rise


Children on bikes survey rising waters from small patch of dry ground in downtown Sultan
(SKY VALLEY) -- The first inkling that heavy rains caused by storm systems were going to cause problems in the Sky Valley and other locations near rivers in Western Washington came just after 6:00 a.m. this morning when the National Weather Service issued flood warnings that projected near 2006 record flood levels in the Skykomish-Snohomish river basin.

The Skykomish River near Gold Bar was projected to crest at 22.89 feet around 4:00 pm, the Snohomish River near Monroe was forecast to reach 22.74 feet by tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. and the Snohomish River at Snohomish was projected to crest at 32.72 feet tomorrow also at 10:00 am.

The Flood Warning continues for the Skykomish River near Gold Bar through the day and on into Thursday evening. The forecast was for the river to rise above its 15 feet flood stage at 5:00 a.m. this morning and crest near 22.9 feet around 4:00 p.m. today before falling below flood stage early Thursday afternoon.

Forecasters said that at 22.0 feet the Skykomish River would cause severe and near record flooding from Index all the way down river to Monroe with many homes being hit by floodwaters. The flood was expected to cover much of the farmland in the valley, over top many dikes in Western Washington and close many roads. Flooding was expected all along the Skykomish River including headwaters, tributaries and other streams within the Skykomish River Basin. A flood stage of 22 feet on the Skykomish River corresponds to a Phase 4 in the Snohomish County Flood Program and phase four is as high as the program goes.


SULTAN AND GOLD BAR SCHOOLS CLOSE EARLY


By 11:00 a.m. this morning the Sultan School District decided to close schools today in Sultan and Goldbar at 11:30 am. Sand bags were being delivered to 6th and Main in Sultan at the noon hour and the Sultan Sno-Isle Library was closed for the day.

After the school’s closure many Sultan high school students went to 6th & Main to help out in the sand bagging effort. The peak of the flood event for the Sultan-Goldbar area was expected to occur today at 4:00 pm. and continue through tomorrow.

By 12:20 p.m. today the closed roads in the Sultan area included 10th Street at US Highway 2, Main Street at 3rd, 1st St. at Birch, 311 across the Skykomish River and Skywall Drive at the BNSF crossing.

There was water reported over roadways at 33311- 132nd, the Sultan Basin Road at Bryant, 339th at Wagley Creek and 4th and Birch Street.

Flooding is underway today at many of the usual flood locations in the valley; the customary back up of the Sultan river at downtown Sultan up to just past the Logger’s Inn and Sportsman’s Park on the Northwest side of the Sultan River bridge is completely underwater at this time and there is the usual flooding at flood prone areas around Wagley Creek in Sultan and in Startup.

In Snohomish County people living in the Tualco Road and Ben Howard Road areas south and southeast of Monroe have been urged to prepare for evacuation because of rising waters on the Skykomish and Snoqualmie rivers. Voluntary evacuations have also been underway at various locations in Index, Sultan and Gold Bar.


EMERGENCY DECLARATION FOR SNOHOMISH COUNTY


An emergency declaration to respond to flooding in Snohomish County was issued this afternoon by Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon.

Near Startup on U.S. Highway 2 at the Skykomish River a family was caught inside a mobile home by fast rising water. Firefighters from Fire District 5 were able to get everyone out safely.

For those needing shelter for their livestock, barns at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe have been opened. By mid day about 100 horses, a handful of cows and four zebras had taken up temporary residence at the fairgrounds.

The Snohomish County Chapter of the American Red Cross has opened an emergency shelter at the Volunteers Of America Sky Valley Camp at 701 First Street in Sultan and a Red Cross shelter has also opened at The Rock Church located at 16891 -146th Street S.E. in Monroe.

Area residents who may need the services of the shelters are advised to bring needed medications, pillows, blankets and for those with small children a favorite toy. Cots, food and beverages will be provided by the Red Cross as well as blankets for those who do not have any with them when they arrive. However pets are not allowed in Red Cross shelters.


MAJOR FLOODING EXPECTED ON 12 WASHINGTON RIVERS


The National Weather Service said major flooding was expected today along several rivers in Western Washington including the Satsop, Nooksack, Skagit, Stillaguamish, Skykomish, Snohomish, Tolt, Snoqualmie, Cedar, Carbon, Puyallup and Nisqually rivers and to expect dangerous, deep and quick floodwaters to cover many roads and driveways and to expect flooding in some homes.

Residents in and around Orting in Pierce County have already been told to evacuate because of the rising Carbon River and folks in several neighborhoods in the city of Snoqualmie were encouraged to evacuate because of rising water from the Snoqualmie River.

The Washington State Department of Transportation also closed temporarily the Green River Bridge between Enumclaw and Black Diamond after soil experts discovered small movements in the soil that hold up the bridge. The bridge might possibly be closed until Friday.

Mount Rainier National Park has been closed due to floodwaters. Kautz creek has flowed over Nisqually Road, the main road into the southwest corner of the park.

A small dam at Mill Creek Park has been breached at Cosmopolis in Grays Harbor County causing flooding along several streets and nearby homes with several inches of water.


THE STORM SYSTEMS THAT BRING THE RAIN


What is causing the major flooding is a strong frontal system containing tropical moisture from thousands of miles away. It is expected to bring heavy rainfall though out the day and night over Western Washington.

The combination of westerly winds ands their locations plus all the moisture contained in the storm fronts is expected to bring anywhere from five to ten inches of rainfall to the Cascades and Olympic mountains today and tonight.

The southwest interior lowlands and portions of the north interior of Washington State near the Cascade Mountains were expected to get from two to four inches of rainfall.

However the Seattle area is only expected to receive 2-inches or less of rainfall because the area in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains today.

A wind advisory remains in effect to 10:00 p.m. this evening as the storm system moving across Western Washington may create winds from 30 to 39 mph with gusts possibly up to 55 mph.


More flood information can be found at these locations on the web:

REAL TIME SNOHOMISH COUNTY ROAD CLOSURES DUE TO FLOODS:
http://www.co.snohomish.wa.us/PWApp/roads/emclosure/index.html

REAL TIME DATA ON SULTAN FLOODING:
http://www.ci.sultan.wa.us/Live/Environment/Flood_Information/

REAL TIME FLOOD INFORMATION FROM USGS:
http://water.usgs.gov/waterwatch/?m=flood&r=wa&w=map

STATEWIDE ROAD CLOSURES AND TRAFFIC ALERTS:
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/trafficalerts/

HELP FOR ANIMALS
http://www.pasadosafehaven.org./
Pasado’s Safe Haven, a Sky Valley animal rescue agency, will provide temporary food, shelter and vet care for animals of flood evacuees until they can return home. Call 425-367-2377 or go to the group’s web site at http://www.pasadosafehaven.org./


Tropical Storm Fronts Will Bring Heavy Rain



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