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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Residents, motorists urged to stay safe as King County experiences historic flooding

Summary

The powerful tropical storm that has brought heavy rain across King County this week is now pushing some rivers to what could be record levels. Meanwhile, roughly two dozen roads are already closed across King County, and motorists are urged not to take risks and adhere to all emergency road closures.

Story

Jones Road mud slideThe powerful tropical storm that has brought heavy rain across King County this week is now pushing some rivers to what could be record levels. Meanwhile, roughly two dozen roads are already closed across King County, and motorists are urged not to take risks and adhere to all emergency road closures.

The King County Flood Warning Center, which has been in operation since mid-afternoon on Jan. 6 to monitor conditions, has issued Phase IV flood alert levels for the Snoqualmie and Tolt river systems – King County’s highest flood alert level.

Updated flow information

As of 1 p.m. Wednesday, the sum of the Snoqualmie River’s three forks was 52,340 cubic feet per second (cfs), while just before noon the Tolt River near Carnation was flowing at 12,700 cfs, with dangerous widespread flooding occurring throughout those river valleys.

The flows on the Tolt River are the highest that have been recorded since the river was dammed in the early 1960s, while flows on the Snoqualmie River could be the highest seen since the record flood event in 1990.

Meanwhile, flows on the Green and Cedar rivers are also high, with minor to moderate flooding expected in low-lying areas along those streams.

River flooding limiting Snoqualmie Valley road access

The number-one cause of fatalities during flood events is motorists who ignore “road closed” signs and drive onto flooded roadways.

King County residents are cautioned to not drive through standing water as the region continues to experience near-record river levels from the recent rainfall and mountain snowmelt.

Roughly two dozen roads are closed from either water over roadway or landslides, across the county, and access to cities and neighborhoods is becoming more difficult, particularly in the Snoqualmie Valley.

In addition to the closure of State Routes 202 and 203, the King County Road Services Division has closed several other valley roads including Northeast 124th Street between the West Snoqualmie Valley Road and the Carnation-Duvall Road. Only the Woodinville-Duvall Road remains open at this time. Motorists should closely monitor the road status.

Given the severity of the storm, resident should use extreme caution when traveling, especially in flood-prone areas of the county.

King County residents are cautioned to not drive through standing water as the region continues to experience near-record river levels from the recent rainfall and mountain snowmelt.

Urban flooding from swollen creeks, overwhelmed storm drains, river flooding, and mudslides can also be expected until the heavy rain moves out of the area.

Monitoring continues

 Flood Warning Center staff will continue to monitor stream gauges and weather reports and provide updated information on river conditions as necessary. Real-time river level information is available online.

Updated information on flooding will also be posted on the King County Web site at www.kingcounty.gov, or via RPIN, the area's regional Web site at http://www.rpin.org. A recorded flood-information hotline is also updated each hour for citizens wanting information in flood areas. The number is 206-296-8200 or 1-800-945-9263.

Citizens who need help interpreting flood information should call 206-296-4535 or 1-800-768-7932. Problems on county maintained roads can be reported by calling 206-296-8100 or 1-800-KC-ROADS.



King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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