May 17, 2008
Snowmelt keeps flows high as King County continues to monitor dangerous river conditions
Phase II flood alert level continues for Snoqualmie River, other rivers remain high
Saturday’s record-breaking high temperatures continue to melt a heavy mountain snowpack, as rivers across King County remain high and dangerous. The King County Flood Warning Center has been open since 9 p.m. Friday evening to monitor river flows.
Saturday afternoon, the King County Sheriff’s Office announced an emergency closure of the Green and Cedar rivers to all recreational use, citing numerous instances where people were reported stranded or in danger because of the swift, cold waters. The closure will remain in effect until conditions improve.
Even though air temperatures have been unseasonably warm, rivers, lakes and Puget Sound remain extremely cold. Public Health – Seattle & King County urges everyone to use extreme precaution around open water. For more information on water safety and drowning prevention, visit Public Health - Seattle & King County Web pages at http://www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/injury/drowning.aspx.
Stream flows remain high on all King County rivers, including the Snoqualmie, which has been at a Phase II flood alert level since Friday evening. As of 9 p.m. Saturday, the sum of the three forks of the Snoqualmie River was 15,400 cubic feet per second (CFS), surpassing the Phase II flood alert level threshold of 12,000 CFS for the Snoqualmie system. At these flows, minor flooding occurs along portions of the Snoqualmie River.
The Flood Warning Center opens whenever any of King County’s major rivers are expected to enter the Phase II flood alert level. The center will remain open for the duration of this event.
Real-time river level information is available online at http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/waterandland/flooding/warning-system.aspx.
Residents in affected areas can get updated information on flooding on the King County Web site at www.metrokc.gov, or can visit RPIN, the area's regional Web site at www.govlink.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.