National Weather Service issues flood watch as rain lingers in forecast

October 30, 2012

NEW — 5:30 p.m. Oct. 30, 2012

National Weather Service meteorologists issued a flood watch for Issaquah and Western Washington on Tuesday, as rain pelts the region and lingers in the immediate forecast.

The flood watch is in effect for Western Washington through early Thursday. Under a flood watch, favorable conditions for flooding exist, but flooding is not imminent or occurring.

Forecasters said minor urban and small stream flooding is possible in the next 24 hours, due to a combination of steady rain and leaf-clogged storm drains.

Residents could see ponding at road intersections, in underpasses and along low-lying streets. Motorists should use caution as the rain continues.

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King County executive appoints emergency management director

August 29, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 29, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed local crisis manager Walt Hubbard to lead the county Office of Emergency Management.

Hubbard served as acting director at the agency for the past several months, since former Director Hillman Mitchell departed for a private sector job. Officials selected Hubbard after a nationwide search, and Constantine announced the appointment Tuesday.

“Walt brings a wealth of experience and strong local relationships that will help us protect residents and businesses in the event of disaster,” he said in a statement.

King County faces risks from earthquakes, floods, terrorism, volcanic eruptions and numerous other threats, both natural and manmade.

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120 years of Issaquah

April 24, 2012

Click on the image to view the full-size timeline.

1892

  • Issaquah is founded as Gilman. The city is named for railroad baron Daniel Hunt Gilman.

1893

  • The postmaster called for mail sent to Gilman to be addressed to Olney, Wash., to avoid confusion between Gilman and Gilmer, another city in the state.

1895

  • Townsfolk start calling the frontier town Issaquah, or “the sound of water birds” in the language of the American Indians native to the region.

1899

  • State lawmakers approve official name change from Gilman to Issaquah.

1900

  • Wilbur W. Sylvester founds the Bank of Issaquah in a clapboard building.

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King County Council adopts climate change plan

March 27, 2012

King County Council members offered unanimous support March 5 for a short-term plan to address climate change.

The legislation lists steps already under way in King County government to address climate change — from setting countywide-level emissions-reduction targets and promoting compact communities and transit use to planning for climate change-related emergencies, such as flooding and droughts. In addition, the measure modifies goals and targets set in a 2006 plan for greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

“King County has long been on the forefront of the nation in addressing the climate crisis,” Councilman Larry Phillips, the Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee chairman, said in a statement. “This legislation ensures those efforts continue while we develop a new strategic climate action plan to advance our work.”

The council also adopted strategic climate action legislation Feb. 27. King County Executive Dow Constantine is developing a plan based on the bill.

“Action now will benefit future generations, and future plans will need to evolve with new information and insights, allowing us to tackle climate change directly and aggressively,” he said.

President declares King County a disaster area for January storms

March 5, 2012

NEW — 3:40 p.m. March 5, 2012

Federal aid is available to Issaquah and other cities impacted during the January storms, because President Barack Obama declared King County a disaster area Monday.

The cost of storm response and cleanup reached $530,000 for city government. City officials said about $383,000 in costs related to the storms could be eligible for reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Gov. Chris Gregoire asked Obama late last month to declare a federal disaster area in King County and 10 other Washington counties for damages and response costs from January storms.

Local governments could defray 75 percent of eligible disaster-related costs — such as debris removal — by using FEMA public assistance grants.

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King County assistance is available to relieve farm flood risk

February 28, 2012

The likelihood of flooding is a fact of life for many farmers living and working on the rich land in King County river valleys.

Help is available for farmers interested in building and repairing farm pads — elevated land to hold livestock, farm equipment and other essentials during a flood. King County is hosting a March 1 meeting in Preston to offer advice and technical assistance to rural landowners.

King County approved a demonstration project to improve existing farm pads after record-breaking floods in November 2006. The flooding led many livestock to drown or die from hypothermia. The disaster also ruined farm equipment and livestock feed.

Landowners from flood-prone areas can learn more about farm pads at the meeting at 7 p.m. at the Preston Community Center, 8625 310th Ave. S.E. County staffers plan to discuss technical assistance related to design, construction and permitting for farm pads.

Contact Project Manager Claire Dyckman at 206-296-1926 or claire.dyckman@kingcounty.gov to learn more.

Issaquah’s bill for response to January storms tops $500,000

February 21, 2012

The city’s initial tally for response and cleanup from the January snowstorm and subsequent ice storm reached $530,000 — although the number could shrink if federal officials release dollars for disaster efforts.

Officials used the dollars to put snowplows on Issaquah streets in 24-hour stretches, clear fallen trees and haul off debris.

The city could receive federal dollars as a reimbursement if President Barack Obama declares the January storms as a federal disaster. Such a decision means local governments could apply for reimbursements for emergency response and cleanup activities.

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National Weather Service issues flood watch for King County

February 21, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 21, 2012

National Weather Service meteorologists issued a flood watch for King County late Monday, as rain continues to pelt the region.

The flood watch is in effect for King County and other Western Washington counties until Thursday afternoon.

Meteorologists said heavy rain is forecast in the Cascades through Wednesday morning. The snow level is expected to rise to 6,000 to 7,000 feet above the Central Cascades during the same period.

Though the highest flooding risk is for rivers flowing from the mountains, increased precipitation in the area could cause Issaquah Creek to rise.

City officials base Issaquah Creek flood warnings on real-time data from a gauge upstream from Issaquah in Hobart. The system usually provides hours of lead time before flooding impacts Issaquah.

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King County assistance is available to relieve farm flood risk

February 21, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 21, 2012

The likelihood of flooding is a fact of life for many farmers living and working on the rich land in King County river valleys.

Help is available for farmers interested in building and repairing farm pads — elevated land to hold livestock, farm equipment and other essentials during a flood. King County is hosting a March 1 meeting in Preston to offer advice and technical assistance to rural landowners.

King County approved a demonstration project to improve existing farm pads after record-breaking floods in November 2006. The flooding led many livestock to drown or die from hypothermia. The disaster also ruined farm equipment and livestock feed.

Landowners from flood-prone areas can learn more about farm pads at the meeting at 7 p.m. at the Preston Community Center, 8625 310th Ave. S.E. County staffers plan to discuss technical assistance related to design, construction and permitting for farm pads.

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Cleanup continues after snowstorm and ice cause havoc

January 24, 2012

State Route 900 remains barricaded at midafternoon Jan. 20 to motorists wanting to go southbound past Northwest Talus Drive, a day after a downed tree blocked access to the urban village. By Greg Farrar

In the days after a snowstorm pummeled the region, blackout chased whiteout, as residents uneasy about thorny commutes and missed meetings instead confronted sinking temperatures and toppling trees — all sans electricity.

The major snowstorm dropped 3 to 6 inches across the Issaquah area Jan. 18, but the struggle started the next day, as a rare ice storm led to widespread power outages and caused trees to send ice- and snow-laden branches earthward.

The harsh conditions tested road crews, prompted spinouts and fender benders around the region, and led officials to cancel school for almost a week.

“It was like a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 punch,” Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director, said Jan. 23, as cleanup efforts continued. “For awhile there, I wasn’t sure if we were ever going to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

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