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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Historic flows, significant road and structure damage visible as King County Executive tours flood damaged communities

Summary

County Executive Ron Sims spent most of Friday viewing East King County flood damage where all rivers had historic flows of rain and melted snow and the Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers hit the highest level in history. The Executive visited the Red Cross regional center in Renton and spoke with people who evacuated their homes as well as residents whose homes were spared from flooding.

Story

County Executive Ron Sims spent most of Friday viewing East King County flood damage where all rivers had historic flows of rain and melted snow and the Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers hit the highest level in history. The Executive visited the Red Cross regional center in Renton and spoke with people who evacuated their homes as well as residents whose homes were spared from flooding.

The director of the King County Office of Emergency Management, the King County Roads Division Director and the director of the county's Water and Land Resources Division joined the tour to brief Executive Sims on the county's response to the flooding emergency. The Executive had county departments begin planning for a possible flooding during last month's heavy snowfall and began 24 hour response to the flood on Tuesday, Jan 6.

County staff have helped coordinate emergency responses, sheltering activities, evacuation assistance, and rescue operations along with regional partners and first responders.

Sims thanked representatives of the, King County/Kitsap Red Cross and the pastor and congregation of St. Matthews Lutheran Church in Renton which is the regional shelter for evacuees.

Sims was joined by King County Councilmember Regan Dunn and watched a kayaker and people in a small motor boat ply a flooded section of Highway 169 that is the main highway into southeast King County for approximately 80,000 residents. Sims and Dunn also viewed a flooded area where the county had purchased and removed houses that were chronically flooded.

Executive Sims inspected damage from record flooding in the Snoqualmie Valley and met with Carnation City Manager Candice Bock for a close-up view of the record flood as waters continued to recede after Thursday's crest. Earlier today, the Tolt breeched levees in two spots, but it did not appear to be threatening Carnation.

"We are relieved that that we have at least one road into Carnation and Duvall open and that most people can travel again," said Executive Sims. "I am thankful no one was seriously hurt despite historic water levels on the Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers. We are not in the recovery phase yet. But as the waters continue to recede, we'll be able to get a better view of flood damage and eventually start assessing overall impacts.

"I want to thank the countless volunteers, the Red Cross and churches that have helped during this emergency," Sims said. "We have a lot of long, difficult days of clean up and repair ahead."

The Executive also spoke with the Mayor of Pacific by telephone and told him the county's flood team and managers will continue to work with him and residents as the Army Corps of Engineers continue releasing water on the White River to relieve pressure on the Mud Mountain Dam.

Shelters

There is one regional shelter operating in the City of Renton at St. Matthews Lutheran Church (1700 Edmonds Ave. NE). It served about 50 people overnight - one third of its capacity.

The City of Pacific has three shelters open. Those needing shelter should report to the Pacific Community Center located at 100 3rd Ave SE for directions to sheltering options. Community center will be open 24 hours and can be reached at 253-929-1154. Updates will be posted at the Community Center or by calling the flood information line at 253-929-1132.

Flood debris cleanup

County solid waste managers are working to develop a plan for assisting homeowners with disposal of flood-damaged items and flood debris.

Over the next few days as water levels drop and damage assessments begin, solid waste staff will use GIS maps and do on-the-ground evaluations to pinpoint heavily affected areas where debris drop boxes could be located for citizens to deliver their storm-damaged items, including household hazardous waste items.

Planning is under way and managers hope to have a recommendation for consideration by county leaders by Monday. In the meantime, residents should contact their insurance company about existing coverage for disposal costs, document damage with photographs and keep records of all clean-up and repair costs.

Road impacts

Crews from the King County Road Services Division are beginning immediate repairs to severely damaged sections of the Woodinville-Duvall Road. The Peasley Canyon Road is closed from South 321st down to the West Valley Highway in Auburn. In addition, more than 40 roads remain closed in unincorporated areas of King County. It will be several days before some roads can safely reopen.County road crews aremobilizing to clean up flood debris, inspect bridges and make temporary emergency repairs as soon as the water recedes. Some of that repair work has already begun.

Several roads impacted by flooding and slides have sustained varying degrees of damage - a problem that will likely be repeated as other roads still underwater begin to dry out. Damage ranging from shoulder washouts to buckled asphalt will need to be fixed before the roads can be reopened.

Transit impacts

Almost a dozen Metro Transit bus routes are disrupted by flooding andclosed roadsin Duvall, Carnation, Fall City, Snoqualmie, North Bend, Issaquah, Maple Valley and Kent. People planning on traveling to those communities by bus should check Metro Online for specific route information, or call 206-553-3000. When visiting the Web site, please remember to refresh your browser on each visit for the most currently available information.

Public Health and Safety

Safety is a primary concern during flooding. Electric and natural gas customers with flood damage should follow certain safety tips if home utility equipment or appliances are submerged in water. Similarly, floods can damage septic systems, make well water undrinkable, and contaminate food.

Food

Food items that come in contact withfloodwater are considered contaminated and should be discarded. Canned food should be cleaned with detergent and water, then disinfected in a weak bleach solution before opening. If you lose power briefly, perishable food items may be safe to keep or refreeze if they're cold to the touch and have been maintained at a temperature below 41 degrees Fahrenheit.

Drinking water wells

If you suspect that your well has been flooded, do not drink the water until the well has been tested and decontaminated. Wells that are flooded can be contaminated by germs that cause serious illness such as giardiasis, gastroenteritis, and hepatitis. If your well is possibly contaminated, drink bottled water or boil your water for at least one minute before drinking.

Drinking water can also be disinfected with a few drops of household bleach. Use 10 drops per gallon of water or one teaspoon for 10 gallons. Do not use scented or "color-safe" bleaches. Let the treated water stand 30 minutes before use.

Septic systems

Septic tank systems that have been flooded should not be used. After waters have receded, check the system for broken lines or sewage surfacing. Correct any problems before using the system. If you have questions about septic systems, contact Public Health - Seattle & King County at 206-296-4932.

Chemicals

Businesses and homes often have chemical products likecleaners, solvents, fuels and pesticides that areharmfultohumans, animals and the environment. Store these products above flood height and in spill proof containers. Some of these materialscan burn, kill, poison or react violently with water or airifnot stored safely. If you have questions, contact the Household Hazards Line at 206-296-4692 or www.govlink.org/hazwaste/house/phoneline.html

Power/natural gas

Public Heath-Seattle & King County officials urge residents to use caution before using any electric appliance in a house that has been flooded. Neverturn on wet electric appliances because they may cause an electric shock, overheat, or start a fire.

Puget Sound Energy encourages customers to notify the utility if flooding causes water levels to cover natural gas meters. The utility needs to check the meter and regulator before any natural gas appliances inside the home or business are used. Residents with questions can call 1-888-225-5773 or visit www.pse.com.

Operations of the King County Flood Warning Center are funded by the King County Flood Control District, a special purpose government created to provide funding and policy oversight for flood protection projects and programs in King County. The Flood Control District's Board is composed of the members of the King County Council. The Water and Land Resources Division of the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks develops and implements the approved flood protection projects and programs.

Detailed information on flood and health related topics may be found in English and other languages at www.kingcounty.gov/health/disaster



 NE Woodinville Road out of Duvall
NE Woodinville Road out of Duvall

King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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