Floods wreak havoc in the Valley
January 8, 2009
By Michael Rowe
Snoqualmie emergency service workers rescued 35 people from flooded homes Wednesday.
They worked until about 8 p.m., when it was determined that it was no longer safe to perform rescues. The rescues were performed over nineteen different missions. Five of the rescue missions were performed using boats.
Thursday morning, the emergency workers rescued another person from downtown Snoqualmie.
Snoqualmie city officials hope that the worst of the flooding is over.
“Things are getting better,” said Joan Pliego, Snoqualmie’s public information officer.
The Snoqualmie River is receding after Wednesday’s flood, but downtown roadways in Snoqualmie are still underwater. City officials in Snoqualmie do not yet know how many homes and businesses were damaged by the floodwaters. Officials are also uncertain when power will be restored to the downtown area.
Thursday afternoon, a flow gauge near Snoqualmie reported that the river was moving 49,200 cubic feet of water per second. The river crested the night before around 10 p.m. at about 60,500 cubic feet per second.
The downtown area of Snoqualmie remains inaccessible. State Route 202 is still closed as of midday Thursday. The city asks that residents of the downtown area remain where they are and to not drive or walk in the floodwaters, due to strong currents.
On Wednesday, Snoqualmie city officials urged the evacuation of downtown Snoqualmie. Wednesday afternoon, the city exhausted its supply of sandbags and sand after many residents and volunteers filled sandbags to block the doors of businesses on Railroad Avenue and homes in the downtown area.
A temporary shelter at Cascade View Elementary closed for the second time Thursday afternoon. The shelter was reopened Thursday morning after closing Wednesday afternoon. The Red Cross set up an emergency shelter at the Preston Community Center. According to an official with the Red Cross, three Snoqualmie valley residents sought shelter at the community center Wednesday night.
Both Snoqualmie and North Bend officials activated emergency operations centers to monitor the flood. These centers remained open Thursday morning.
A woman had to be rescued from her car by North Bend firefighters Wednesday morning after she tried to drive through water over a roadway.
Ribary Creek in North Bend is overflowing and threatening several homes in a nearby subdivision. The creek has flooded many roads east of the Factory Outlet Mall.
City officials continue to warn that many roads are covered by water and many streets barricaded. Residents are strongly advised to not attempt to cross roadways that are flooded, neither by car nor on foot. Currents in even a small amount of water can be strong. Residents were also told not to move road barricades.
The Cities of North Bend and Snoqualmie are jointly broadcasting on AM 1650. Residents can tune to this station for local emergency messages.
Assistance for Snoqualmie residents may be obtained by calling the Snoqualmie Emergency Operations Center at 888-5911. Volunteers can also call this number to offer assistance. Snoqualmie’s Emergency Operations Center is located at the city’s fire department at 37600 S.E. Snoqualmie Parkway.
In North Bend, residents who have information regarding unmarked flooded roads or other non-emergency needs may contact the city’s emergency operations center at 425-888-0486, or at 425-888-7661. For Life Threatening Emergencies call 911.
Reach reporter Michael Bayless Rowe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-392-6434 Ext. 248.