The King County Executive and King County Flood Control District Chair urge residents to prepare now for seasonal flooding, kicking off Flood Awareness Month.
King County Executive Dow Constantine and King County Flood District Chair Reagan Dunn are urging people who live, work or commute in flood-prone areas to prepare now for possible flooding October through March – flood season in western Washington.
County officials are concerned that several consecutive mild flood seasons have caused some people living in or commuting through flood-prone river valleys to become complacent about potential flooding – and that newcomers to the area might not be aware of flood risks.
King County provides many ways to help people prepare, from sending flood alerts, to operating its Flood Warning Center around the clock when flooding occurs, to offering sandbags to help citizens hold back flood flows.
“We are urging our residents to guard against complacency,” said Flood District Chair Dunn. “We haven’t seen a major flood recently, but they are not uncommon. King County has experienced 12 federally declared flood disasters since 1990. Residents, particularly those living in or near floodplains, should have an emergency kit, sign up for flood alerts, and know alternate ways to get home when there is serious flooding.”
To prepare for a flood emergency, families can assemble a basic emergency preparedness kit for the home, with items such as a flashlight with spare batteries, a portable radio, non-perishable food, drinking water, medical necessities, and any necessary items for children or pets.
King County developed KC Flood Alerts - a free, automated system offering subscribers access to alerts of potential flooding for any or all of King County’s six major river systems.
Immediate notifications about pending high water are sent to email, smart phone text or voicemail, providing subscribers with the maximum amount of warning about potential high water.
Sign up for KC Flood Alerts at kingcounty.gov/flood, where detailed flood preparedness information is available, including real-time river levels and road conditions, plus weather reports and more.
King County also issues flood-related notifications and other emergency information via ALERT King County, a regional emergency information and notification system. Learn more at kingcounty.gov/alert.
Important steps to take before flooding occurs include:
- Buy flood insurance. It takes 30 days for a policy to take effect, and standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. Contact your insurance agent or visit floodsmart.gov.
- Avoid flood damage by storing important documents, valuables and electronics high up, and by moving vehicles and equipment to high ground before flood waters rise.
- Dispose of hazardous chemicals, such as lawn and gardening herbicides, at one of the county’s household hazardous waste sites to help reduce harmful contaminates in flood waters. Learn more at kingcounty.gov/hazwaste.
If flooding is imminent, King County employees will gather, analyze and distribute flood warning information so that residents, businesses, property owners and emergency response officials can make important health, safety and economic decisions.
When river levels rise to designated thresholds, King County activates its Flood Warning Center around-the-clock to monitor river gages, weather data, dam operations and road closures. During a flood, trained County employees will take to the field to address safety concerns, such as flooded roadways, and to check on flood control facilities.
When the Flood Warning Center is open, residents can directly contact King County staff 24 hours a day with their flooding concerns and questions by calling 206-296-8200 or 1-800-945-9263.
For assistance with, or questions about, flooding on smaller streams or drainage problems in urban areas, call 206-477-4811 during business hours or 206-296-8100 after hours or on weekends.
Efforts to protect people and property have earned King County the highest rating of any county in the United States under the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Community Rating System. King County’s high CRS rating saves flood insurance policyholders in unincorporated King County more than $1 million per year – an average of $450 per policy.
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• King County Flood Warnings and Alerts
• ALERT King County
• FloodSmart – flood insurance
• Household Hazardous Waste Disposal
“We are urging our residents to guard against complacency. We haven’t seen a major flood recently, but they are not uncommon. King County has experienced 12 federally declared flood disasters since 1990. Residents, particularly those living in or near floodplains, should have an emergency kit, sign up for flood alerts, and know alternate ways to get home when there is serious flooding.”
Reagan Dunn, King County Flood Control District Chair
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Daniel DeMay, King County Flood Control District, 206-263-3767
Doug Williams, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, 206-477-4543