Flooding and landslides make commutes a nightmare for BC students

Eliot Gentiluomo/ The Watchdog

The King County Flood Warning Center closed on Tuesday evening after six days of continuous operations to monitor and report flooding across multiple county rivers and streams. The county’s flood warning center was activated on Feb. 5. During this period of intense rainfall, Issaquah Creek and the Cedar and Green rivers all reached Phase 4 flood alert levels. Major flooding led to significant damage, especially along Issaquah Creek and Cedar River.

Our region has had measurable precipitation on 43 of the last 50 days, experiencing almost non-stop rain since two dry days on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Flooding from Issaquah Creek impacted major roadways and ran underneath the Park Shore apartment building on Feb. 6, where local news reporters posted images and videos of multiple cars halfway underwater. About 200 residents of the Creekside, Park Shore, and Bayview apartment complexes were evacuated. Eastside Fire and Rescue said on Twitter that “all… residents who were in the apartment complex have been safely evacuated, including several children and animals.”

On Feb. 5, Gov. Jay Inslee issued an emergency proclamation in 19 Washington Counties, including King, Pierce, and Snohomish. Road damage caused by recent snow will cost at least $3 million to repair, and the state’s Department of Transportation is required to begin repair work immediately. King County Executive Dow Constantine also signed an emergency declaration to speed up repairs and responses to damages from the severe flooding.

A failed culvert brought debris onto Issaquah-Hobart Road along with additional flooding. “Rock and soil spilling from hillside crammed the culvert full of debris,” King County officials said on Twitter. “The water has nowhere else to go. We built a berm to help direct water to creek so it wouldn’t damage the road or flood homes.”

Landslide warnings were also issued by officials due to the flooding. On Feb. 5, a section of Novelty Hill Road was closed following a mudslide. Crystal Mountain Resort closed Feb. 6 because of high avalanche danger and mudslides in the Cascades. Whatcom County experienced a landslide on I-5, closing a northbound stretch of the interstate at milepoint 243. Mudslide risks also caused Sound Transit to suspend the Sounder north train service to Edmonds, Mukilteo, and downtown Everett on Feb. 6 and 7. Transit spokesman John Gallagher attributed the decision to a combination of nonblocking mudslides and more than two weeks of precipitation and saturated soil findings by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Seattle Times reported that owners of flood-threatened farms in Snohomish County brought livestock to the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe. Twenty-eight horses and two pygmy goats from a farm near Woods Creek were among the animals sheltered at the fairgrounds.

A news report from King County Natural Resources and Parks says that “King County flood patrol crews were in the field every day during this lengthy flood event to check flood-protection structures and report on conditions back to Flood Warning Center employees. Those assessments are ongoing as river levels continue to drop.”