Monroe, Stanwood, Arlington, other communities brace for flooding
With up to 7 more inches of rain in the Cascades today, flooding is expected on the Snohomish and other rivers.
The National Weather Service in Seattle issued a flood warning on Tuesday afternoon for much of Snohomish County. The worst conditions were predicted along the Snohomish River near Monroe.
Rainfall pounded the area much of Tuesday and was expected to continue. Up to 7 inches of rain was predicted in the Cascades before Wednesday afternoon is out.
Flooding is possible on all rivers flowing out of the Cascade and Olympic mountains, the weather service said.
Rivers at ">greatest risk of major flooding include the Snohomish, Stillaguamish, Skykomish and Tolt.
"We are watching to see if any rivers are rising faster than forecast," weather service meteorologist Dennis D'Amico said. "Hopefully, people are taking precautions."
County Emergency Management crews have sandbags in place at key locations. In addition, there are plans to disperse volunteers and resources wherever needed, director John Pennington said.
High water on local rivers is expected to peak rapidly and decline just as fast, except for along the Snohomish, he said.
Crews on Tuesday were posting warnings in areas where trouble is predicted. People are asked to obey the signs, and listen to any calls they get from the reverse 911 system, Pennington said.
The Skykomish River may see minor flooding when it's supposed to peak about 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Gold Bar area.
The Snoqualmie River is expected to peak in north King County, south of Monroe, around 4 p.m.
The Snohomish River is supposed to crest at Monroe around 10 p.m. Wednesday. Monroe could see major flooding into early Thursday morning, according to the weather service, with the river expected to hit more than two feet above flood stage.
Flood waters were expected in the Tualco Valley and outlying areas of Snohomish, and homes could be damaged, county spokesman Christopher Schwarzen said.
The Stanwood community was gearing up Tuesday for the high water to come, Mayor Dianne White said. The city already had a half-dozen pallets of sandbags ready to go.
White saw plenty of water in the fields in the Stillaguamish Valley on Tuesday morning, but her community always rallies to protect their homes and property, she said.
"There's absolutely no question, we know how to fight floods here," she said.
Stanwood's crews are available around-the-clock, but the biggest factor for flooding is whether the river's crest arrives at the same time as high tides, White said.
In Monroe, firefighters were keeping an eye on nearby rivers and waiting to see what happens, said Kevin Sullivan, an acting battalion chief with Snohomish County Fire District 3.
People who live in flood-prone areas should make sure they have enough food, water and medications, said Christian Davis, a battalion chief with the North County Regional Fire Authority.
They also should put photos, documents and family heirlooms in a high place or take them to higher ground, Davis said.
He reminds people not to drive in flood waters -- a move that can prove deadly.
Every year, rescue crews in north county have to save two or three people whose vehicles are overtaken by water, Davis said.
"Moving water, once it gets under your tires, it can float your car into a ditch," he said.
Those rescues are complicated and dangerous, he said.
"There's current," Davis said. "There's hidden obstructions. We're not stronger than Mother Nature."
If somebody's car goes under water, especially at night, they may not be spotted until it's too late, Davis said.
People with pets should think about animal safety, too. Have food and other supplies for your pets ready to throw in the car in case you need to leave in a haste, he said.
Arlington city spokeswoman Kristin Banfield asked people to clear the storm drains near their homes.
"We've tried to get them all cleared today, but it would be helpful if people could check," she said.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org
Watching the river rise
People can keep track of river levels, roads and conditions at snoco.org/Departments/Emergency_Management.
Road flooding should be reported to the municipal government that owns that road. Flooding on county roads can be reported to 425-388-7500 or email@example.com.
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