Nationally recognized system protects lives, property
As November ushers in the flood season in the Pacific Northwest, the Metropolitan King County Council today recognized the county’s Flood Warning Program for half a century of protecting the public during flood events.
Started in 1960, the King County Flood Warning Program now is part of the countywide Flood Control District and is operated by King County’s Water and Land Resources Division. The program includes a flood warning center that operates continuously during a flood event, an automated Flood Alert System, and automated river level information available online. Flood Warning Program employees also monitor river levels on site during flood events.
“River valleys contain some of our county’s most fertile agricultural lands, and our farmers depend on the valuable information from the Flood Warning Center to protect their crops, equipment and livestock from severe weather,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who represents the Snoqualmie and Sammamish valleys. “New technology has improved the speed and accuracy of receiving and distributing flooding data and demonstrates the value of maintaining this system. This information system allows citizens, businesses and public agencies to make critical safety and economic decisions, such as sand-bagging or evacuation, during flood events.”
King County is recognized nationally for its excellence in floodplain management, including the Flood Warning Program, for reducing flood damage and the cost of flood insurance. Last year, the Flood Warning Program received national recognition for its work on the Green River Valley Flood Preparedness Campaign in response to the damaged Howard Hanson Dam. This year, the National Association of Counties honored the King County Flood Warning System with an Achievement Award for its use of technology.
“It is a privilege to work with the dedicated staff who provide invaluable information to the public on river conditions,” said Mark Isaacson, director of King County’s Water and Land Resources Division.
The Flood Warning Center was already activated once this season in October when the Tolt River reached Phase 2 flood level following heavy rainfall. In the past 20 years, the center has been involved in 11 federally declared flood disasters in King County.
With long-range weather forecasts predicting a colder, wetter winter than normal during La Nina conditions this year, the Council urged residents to sign up for automated flood alerts and to prepare for severe winter weather with a family emergency plan and by assembling emergency kits at home, school, work and in vehicles.
WHEREAS, through a service agreement with the King County Flood Control District, the Water and Land Resources Division of the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks carries out flood hazard management programs to reduce flooding risks and inform residents and businesses throughout the county on how to prepare for floods; and
WHEREAS, King County has a long history of devastating flooding, including 11 federally declared flood disasters since 1990 that have caused significant damage to private and public property, as well as disruption of services and loss of life; and
WHEREAS, the King County Flood Warning Program was established in 1960 to gather, analyze, and distribute information so citizens can make critical safety and economic decisions during flood events, making our county more disaster-resilient; and
WHEREAS, the Flood Warning Program continues to use the latest technology to increase the speed and efficiency of delivering information, while maintaining direct interaction with residents through in-the-field and Flood Warning Center staff; and
WHEREAS, the Flood Warning Program services currently include the Flood Warning Center, which operates continuously during a flood event; an automated Flood Alert System; automated river level information available online; and monitoring of rivers by patrol staff during floods; and
WHEREAS, King County is recognized nationally for its excellence in floodplain management that has reduced flood damage and the cost of flood insurance policies for residents; and
WHEREAS, the Flood Warning Program received national recognition for its superior communication products during the 2009 Green River Valley Flood Preparedness Campaign and a 2010 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties for its technology-based products;
NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, recognize the
KING COUNTY FLOOD WARNING PROGRAM
for 50 years of flood warning services and encourage all residents living, working or traveling through flood-prone areas to prepare themselves and their families for flood season.
DATED this first day of November, 2010.
Members of the King County Flood Warning Program are joined by Councilmembers as the Council recognized 50 years of protecting the public during flood events.