Forecasters issue flood watch as rain continues to fall
January 15, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 15, 2011
National Weather Service meteorologists urged residents to prepare for possible flooding as rain-sodden conditions continue throughout the region Saturday.
Forecasters in Seattle issued a flood watch through Monday afternoon for most Western Washington counties. The latest moisture-laden system could drop 3 to 6 inches of rain.
Precipitation — more rainfall and a brief-but-intense snowstorm — saturated the ground throughout from Tuesday onward.
Issaquah emergency planners reminded residents to keep storm drains near homes clear of fallen leaves and other debris. Call the city Public Works Operations Department at 837-3470 to address larger storm water issues.
If creeks in the city reach a flood phase, emergency planners post information to the city website, emergency information line, the city radio station at 1700-AM and on Channel 21, the municipal access channel. Call the emergency information line at 837-3028.
Residents can also request free sand and bags from the city. Call 837-3470 to learn more.
King County Road Services Division planners advised motorists to be alert for road-related problems. Motorists can track road conditions on routes in rural and unincorporated areas during inclement conditions.
Flooding could impact roads in lowland areas. Motorists should also be on the lookout for water runoff and debris on roads, especially in areas prone to landslides.
Floodwaters can linger for days, before flooded roads can be inspected for damage and reopened. So, motorists should identify alternate routes through flood-prone areas in the days ahead.
Motorists should not drive around road closure signs or through deep standing water. Driving through floodwaters can cause vehicles to stall or cause the driver to lose control. The act is the leading cause of flood-related deaths in Washington.
Residents can report problems on county-maintained roads to a 24-hour help line at 206-296-8100.
Runoff from the rainfall could also trigger landslides and debris flows. The saturated soil means reduced stability and a greater chance of landslides.
Seattle Public Utilities encouraged residents to inspect sloping areas for indications of slope movement — such as cracks in the ground and newly tilting trees — and erosion. Residents should also check downspouts to make sure the spouts function properly and route to a safe location, shut off any irrigation systems, and keep fill and yard waste off of slopes.
The state Department of Natural Resources has asked residents to report landslides. Send photos and location information to DNR_GEO_landslide@sharepoint.dis.wa.gov.
The agency, alongside the University of Washington and the National Weather Service, is developing a statewide landslide-forecasting system.
Residents should report the street address or cross-streets nearest to the landslide. Only take a GPS reading from a safe area, and do not head into areas closed to public access.
The agency asked for photos to include the whole landslide, if possible. The information could be more helpful if the photo can include something to show the scale of the slide, such a person, a vehicle, a house, or even common household objects, such as shovels or brooms.