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SULTAN ESCAPES MAJOR FLOODING IN FIRST BIG RAIN STORM OF 2008
November 08, 2008
(SULTAN, WA) -- Some folks feared a repeat this week of the great flood of two years ago this month, when heavy rains and warm temperatures hit Snohomish County on Thursday. To some, the general weather conditions this year felt eerily similar to November 6, 2006 when rivers across Western Washington neared or exceeded record flows and evacuations were ordered in a handful of cities and neighborhoods.
Downtown Sultan at Post Office in the great flood of Nov 6, 2006.
Luckily Sky Valley area residents this week were spared a repeat of that historic two-year old record flood event and escaped with minor flooding, a few folks stranded for a time and many possessions moved to higher ground in the first major rainstorm of the 2008 winter season.
As heavy winter rains fueled by a stalled weather system over Western Washington pushed some Snohomish County rivers over their banks, a few roads were temporarily shut down and some residents in the Sultan and Gold Bar areas were stranded for a time.
There were the usual backs up of several feet of water at some areas along on Mann and Dyer roads in Sultan and minor flooding of the Sultan river in Sultan as is often the norm during heavy rains. Minor flooding occurred at Sportsman Park as well as River Park and along Birch Avenue in Sultan.
The Sultan River crested around 4:00 p.m. yesterday at just over 16 feet. The Skykomish River was expected to crest in Monroe last night at just over 15 feet and early this morning in the city of Snohomish at around 27 feet. Heavy rains were expected to taper off later today.
No major injuries or damage was reported but fire department crews did locate and rescue a homeless woman Thursday night from where she’d been camping in Sultan and was trapped by rising water. Fire crews also rescued another homeless woman Friday morning who was found stranded on a small patch of land surrounded by waters from the swollen Sultan River near First Street in the downtown area.
Emergency management officials said the possibility of severe flooding as the area experienced in 2006 was greatly reduced this time around as local rivers were relatively low in water volume when the storm came into the area. Had rivers been running high at the time there would have been a much greater possibility of major flooding in the valley.
THE HISTORIC FLOOD OF 2006
The historic flood of November 6, 2006 that inundated the Skykomish River Valley will long be remembered as one of the most dangerous and dramatic flood events in Western Washington history.
Some accounts described it as the worst flooding in 50 years. Normally the Skykomish River at Goldbar flows at a rate of 700 to 1,000 cubic feet per second (CFS). At the peak of the flood event on November 6 the mighty Skykomish was raging at over 100,000 CFS.
Flood stage on the Skykomish is 15 feet and on the morning of November 6, 2006 local officials were warned to expect a 19-foot flood event. However a second warning came later that day alerting them to expect a 26-foot flood stage event.
The Skykomish River eventually peaked at around 24 feet at Goldbar, a full 9 feet above flood stage. The previous great flood event of November 24, 1990 only reached a crest of 22.49 feet.
A stage of 22 feet on the Skykomish River corresponds to a Phase 4 in the Snohomish County flood program and four is as high up as the program goes.
During a phase four flood event in Snohomish County all agencies respond in anticipation of major flooding and widespread damage. Flood warnings are reported to police, fire departments, schools, other agencies, and news media.