King County requires life vests on major rivers

June 20, 2011

NEW — 6 p.m. June 20, 2011

Summer starts Tuesday — and the season is prime time for river recreation, as people seek to beat the heat in boats, canoes, kayaks, inner tubes and more.

King County Council members adopted legislation Monday to require personal flotation devices on major King County rivers throughout the summer. The requirement is due to expire in October.

The measure requires people to wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device on portions of the Raging, Snoqualmie, Tolt, Cedar, Green, Skyhomish and White rivers in unincorporated areas.

The penalty is a warning for first-time violators; subsequent violators face $86 fines.

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Go wet and wild — and stay safe — on the water this weekend

May 14, 2010

NEW — 11:50 a.m. May 14, 2010

Springtime sunshine will lure residents in Issaquah and across King County to lakes, streams and rivers in the days ahead.

King County Sheriff’s Office leaders reminded people to practice water safety. Most King County drownings — 56 percent — occur in April, May and July.

“While the weather will be great, the rivers and lakes of King County are still very cold,” Sheriff Sue Rahr said in a news release. “And the rivers are fast-moving, and extremely dangerous.”

Furthermore, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started releasing water from the Howard Hanson Dam on Wednesday. The added water means flows on the Green River will be high through at least Saturday night.

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Issaquah official will advise county executive-elect

November 10, 2009

Issaquah Councilman Fred Butler will advise Dow Constantine as the King County executive-elect prepares to take office Nov. 24. Read more

City reviews last flood, prepares for future crises

November 3, 2009

David Bramwell (left) shovels sand into a bag held by Bruce Wendt in a sandbagging practice run for CERT volunteers last week. Courtesy of Brenda Bramwell

David Bramwell (left) shovels sand into a bag held by Bruce Wendt in a sandbagging practice run for CERT volunteers last week. Courtesy of Brenda Bramwell

Floodwaters caused about $1 million worth of damage and left behind piles of debris and muck when Issaquah and Tibbetts creeks overflowed in January, but the disaster also readied emergency planners for the next flood.

The next time flood waters rise, volunteers will fan out across flood-prone neighborhoods and city officials will unleash a deluge of information about water levels, road closures and recovery efforts. Many of the procedures were tested during what officials characterized as a successful response to the major flood in mid-January.

But the next flood could occur as early as the next several weeks, and officials said work remains to be done to prepare Issaquah for another natural disaster. On Oct. 27, City Council members received a briefing about the response to the January flood and preparation efforts for the upcoming flood season.

City Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Campbell said readings from a pair of flood gauges did not correlate with the damage caused by floodwaters. A U.S. Geological Survey gauge downstream on Issaquah Creek appeared inaccurate, Campbell said. The gauge indicated about 2,500 cubic feet per second, Campbell said, but flood damage was similar to the 3,500 cubic feet per second estimate from the last major flood to hit Issaquah, in 1996. Read more

Official: Green River flooding would impact Issaquah, region

October 29, 2009

NEW — 3:27 p.m. Oct. 29, 2009

If the Green River swells from fall and winter rains, flooding could snarl traffic for Issaquah commuters, disrupt deliveries of food and fuel, and — a more remote possibility — cause local sewers to back up as floodwaters overwhelm the regional system.

Though the river winds through Auburn, Kent and Tukwila, the human and economic toll from flooding could reach Issaquah, emergency planners told City Council members Tuesday night. A Tukwila emergency planner offered a frank assessment of the potential impact of Green River floods.

Authorities expect the Green will flood because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will allow water to flow through the Howard Hanson Dam. The earthen abutment adjacent to the dam was weakened by severe weather last winter, and engineers worry the structure could fail if rain swelled the reservoir behind the dam. Read more