Issaquah residents urged to prepare amid King County flood watch

November 21, 2011

NEW — 5 p.m. Nov. 21, 2011

King County is under a flood watch as a precipitation-laden system barrels into Western Washington, and Issaquah residents should prepare for localized flooding as rain and wind pelt the area.

The flood watch is in effect until through late Wednesday night. Expect 2 to 4 inches of rainfall Monday night and Tuesday as the snow level rises to about 6,000 feet, and then another 1 to 3 inches Tuesday night and Wednesday as the snow level gradually dips to about 3,000 feet.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle said any flooding related to the system is expected to be minor.

In addition, a wind advisory is in effect through noon Tuesday.

Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director, said leaves dislodged from trees by rain and wind could also clog storm drains and lead to flooding along city streets.

Issaquah Creek flooding is not expected to pose a major problem in the days ahead.

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No. 3 official at City Hall, Joe Meneghini, to retire

August 9, 2011

Joe Meneghini

Joe Meneghini, the No. 3 official at City Hall and a behind-the-scenes force in almost every important municipal project for more than a decade, intends to retire after 11 years in the post.

Meneghini is the deputy to City Administrator Bob Harrison. The administrators and Mayor Ava Frisinger oversee all municipal departments, cross-departmental projects, communications and economic development.

Often operating far from the spotlight, Meneghini left indelible imprints on creek restoration and open space preservation efforts, programs to meld technology to city services, and prepare City Hall and residents for emergencies.

The deputy administrator also acted as a key player in the effort to create a downtown park along Issaquah Creek and to bring a Bellevue College campus to Issaquah.

“I think a key thing has been our ability to stay focused and grounded on doing all of our basic business well,” he said.

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Citizens help others prepare for disasters

April 5, 2011

In Issaquah, a city of more than 30,000 people, only a handful of the population has completed the most rigorous training to respond to disasters.

The unfolding disaster in Japan — caused after a magnitude-9 earthquake rocked the island nation early last month — renewed attention on emergency preparedness on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

Even in a city as focused on preparedness as Issaquah, some gaps remain in the system.

The city has spearheaded lessons in Map Your Neighborhood — a program to coordinate disaster recovery on a block-by-block basis and identify special skills, such as medical training, among residents — for dozens of neighborhoods, although less then 300 people had completed the more rigorous program, Community Emergency Response Team training, by mid-March.

City and independent emergency planners said the numbers belie the effect of trained responders, especially as CERT members start to educate family members and neighbors in disaster preparedness and response.

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City, National Weather Service collaborate

January 25, 2011

Forecasters aim to reduce confusion about flood data

Information from the city and the National Weather Service offered a study in contrasts as rain-gorged Issaquah Creek spilled onto city streets in early December.

A shed houses a U.S. Geological Survey flood gauge beside Issaquah Creek at 252nd Avenue Southeast and Southeast 165th Street. By Greg Farrar

Issaquah Creek data from a gauge upstream in Hobart indicated a creek running high, but not enough to cause more than localized flooding. Information from a downstream gauge and a notice from National Weather Service meteorologists, on the other hand, cautioned residents to prepare for widespread flooding in the city.

The arrangement caused some confusion among floodplain residents.

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City unveils real-time traffic cameras

January 11, 2011

Motorists curious about congestion along Northwest Gilman Boulevard or morning traffic along Front Street South near Issaquah High School can receive real-time information from a system of traffic cameras throughout Issaquah.

The city launched a traffic camera website Dec. 28. The site includes information from cameras at 26 intersections citywide. Read more

Truck topples downtown traffic signal

December 28, 2010

City maintenance workers survey the damage after a tractor-trailer toppled a pole and traffic signal at the corner of Front Street and Sunset Way on Dec. 22. By Tim Pfarr

Motorists and bus riders faced a headache Dec. 22, after a tractor-trailer toppled the traffic signal and pole on the northeastern corner of the Front Street and Sunset Way intersection.

The accident led city officials to close northbound traffic on Front Street and detour drivers to alternate routes. The crash also prompted King County Metro Transit to reroute buses through the affected area for much of the day.

City crews also deployed signs throughout Issaquah to alert drivers to potential problems.

The accident occurred at about 6:30 a.m. Dec. 22. The driver fled the scene and the Issaquah Police Department later arrested the man for fleeing the scene. Read more

Windstorm downs trees, knocks out power for Issaquah residents

December 21, 2010

Strong winds downed trees and prompted road closures near Issaquah as a late-fall windstorm left thousands of residents across in the region in the dark early Dec. 18.

Puget Sound Energy said the storm knocked out power for more than 300 Issaquah customers as the storm swept through the region in the predawn hours. Crews completed restoring power to Issaquah customers just after 2 p.m. the same day.

The storm also toppled trees and forced transportation officials to close roads in the Issaquah area overnight.

The state Department of Transportation closed state Route 18 from Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast to Interstate 90 at about 1 a.m. Dec. 18. The section reopened just before 8 a.m. the same day.

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Issaquah Creek swells as residents face floodwaters in neighborhoods and on roads

December 12, 2010

Issaquah Creek swells near a building along Northwest Gilman Boulevard as rain continues to fall Sunday. By Heather Blume

NEW — 2:30 p.m. Dec. 12, 2010

Forecasters expect heavy rainfall to continue through Sunday night.

The deluge has turned Issaquah Creek into a roiling broth the color of chocolate milk and led to flooding on roads and in Issaquah neighborhoods.

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Snowfall offers early test for road crews

November 23, 2010

The snowfall the Issaquah area received in recent days served as a practice run for city and King County road crews, not to mention commuters.

The extended forecast calls for a harsh winter. La Niña conditions could mean more snow in the months ahead — a lot more — and snowplows could turn into a familiar site on local roads.

In the days before the snowflakes start to fall, the Issaquah Public Works Operations Department and the King County Road Services Division ready equipment to mobilize if conditions should require roads to be plowed and sanded.

Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director, said residents should monitor conditions if the forecast includes snow.

“Making a decision to drive in snow is making a decision to drive in a hazardous condition,” he said. “If you don’t have to, think real hard about whether you really have to drive. Take some public transit, walk to public transit if you can or, better yet, stay put.”

Meanwhile, emergency planners prepare plans to alert Issaquah residents through the city radio station, 1700-AM, emergency information phone line and a section of the municipal website dedicated to winter weather conditions.

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Issaquah braces for rain-soaked winter, creek floods

November 2, 2010

City completed projects to reduce risk since last flood

Mike Crossley (yellow vest) works in the HAM radio communication station during a Community Emergency Response Team flood drill. By Autumn Monahan

January rain turned placid Issaquah Creek into a debris-filled torrent in early 2009 — and emergency planners hope fresh memories of the flood prompt residents to prepare for the rain-soaked winter on the horizon.

Long before fall rain blanketed the area, Issaquah and King County emergency planners had prepared to respond to Issaquah Creek flooding.

Meteorologists predict La Niña conditions — colder-than-normal temperatures and greater-than-normal rain- and snowfall — in the months ahead. The combination has emergency planners concerned about rain-gorged Issaquah Creek and the potential for disaster.

“If you look at Issaquah Creek now, you think, ‘Oh, that’s a nice, pretty little creek.’ It can turn into a roaring monster pretty quick,” Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director, said last week.

The city has completed a series of flood-control projects in the 21 months since the most recent flood, including a high-profile floodplain restoration effort at Squak Valley Park North.

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