Rain Floods Western Washington Rivers

November 14, 2008

Heavy rain swelled rivers across Western Washington, causing numerous road closures and prompting authorities to recommend evacuations in some areas.

No injuries or serious property damage were reported from the wet weather.

About 200 residents were encouraged to evacuate from areas along the Carbon River near Orting, southeast of Tacoma.

Residents in area south of Monroe in Snohomish County were advised to be ready to evacuate because of rising water on the Skykomish and Snoqualmie rivers. The rising Snoqualmie River led officials to recommend evacuations in the city of Snoqualmie. Voluntary evacuations also were occurring in Index, Sultan and Gold Bar.

In southwest Washington, a small dam failed and caused minor flooding in Cosmopolis.

The dam at Mill Creek Park in the town about 40 miles west of Olympia collapsed after it was weakened by a falling tree, town officials said. Some streets and nearby houses were flooded with several inches of water. A contractor was hired to repair the dam.

Mount Rainier National Park was closed after the main access route, Nisqually Road, was covered with more than 6 inches of floodwater from Kautz Creek in the southwest corner of the park. Rangers used a service road to help evacuate seven guests from the National Park Inn at Longmire.

The state Department of Transportation closed the Green River Bridge between Enumclaw and Black Diamond after geotechnical experts detected small movements in the soil holding up the bridge.

The park was closed for months in the fall of 2006 because of flood damage from storms that dumped nearly 18 inches of rain in 36 hours.

Barns at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, east of Everett, were opened as temporary stables for horses, cows and other livestock that had been moved out of floodwaters.

East of Monroe, in Sultan, Don Marshall borrowed a friend’s red kayak and paddled around some flooded houses by the U.S. Highway 2 bridge near the confluence of the Sultan and Skykomish rivers. Sandbags were placed around some downtown businesses, and a stream of residents and business owners filled sandbags from a pile of sand on Main Street.

Rainfall amounts were heavy throughout the region. Hoquiam Airport reported a record 2.77 inches of rain Wednesday. The old record was 1.8 inches in 1957, the National Weather Service reported.

Flood warnings included residential areas near the Skagit River around Mount Vernon, 55 miles north of Seattle, and in places where the Snohomish River could top levees near Snohomish, 25 miles northeast of Seattle.

Warnings also were issued for the Naselle, Satsop, Nooksack, Stillaguamish, Skykomish, Tolt, Snoqualmie, Cedar, Carbon, Puyallup and Deschutes rivers, mostly in largely rural areas with low-lying roads and pastures.

Previous rains this month saturated the soil in most areas west of the Cascade Range, raising the risk of rock and mud slides, the weather service reported.

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