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Storm leaves flooded rivers, blocked roads, 70000 without power – HeraldNet

Published: Wednesday, November 18, 2015, 10:22 a.m.

EVERETT — Major flooding continued Wednesday morning along rivers in east Snohomish County and dozens of roads remained closed due to toppled trees, downed powerlines and water over the roadway.

Snohomish County PUD crews are still scrambling Wednesday morning to get power up for the roughly 70,000 customers still in the dark — about half the number from the day before.

Extra crews have been called in from as far away as Eugene, Oregon, to help get power restored.

The PUD is prioritizing repair work based on how many customers will be affected, while also making sure power is restored to critical services, such as fire, police and hospitals, PUD spokesman Neil Neroutsos said.

The winds Tuesday morning mostly knocked out local power lines, which crews could quickly repair. “That second round of wind that came in around rush hour really took a whammy,” knocking out several transmission lines and two substations, he said.

Two transmission lines and the two substations were still down Wednesday. The PUD hoped to get them back online by afternoon, he said.

The south and east parts of Snohomish County were hardest hit by the second, later gusts, he said.

Even the PUD’s headquarters building in downtown Everett lost power “periodically” on Tuesday, Neroutsos said.

Flood waters came up quick Tuesday along most area rivers.

The Stillaguamish River crested at 20.5 feet just before 8 p.m. at Arlington. That was its fifth-highest level on record. The South Fork Stillaguamish hit its third-highest level at 9:15 p.m., topping out at 20.4 feet.

The Skykomish River at Gold Bar crested at 8 p.m., hitting 22.23 feet, its third-highest level on record. Both the Snoqualmie and Snohomish rivers were still rising Wednesday morning with major flooding reported.

Megan Dascher Watkins and her family had a few hours warning to move cars and equipment uphill. When she heard about the flooding in Granite Falls Tuesday afternoon, she knew Stanwood was next. She bought her house off Pioneer Highway between Stanwood and Silvana in 2003. The property flooded the day after she signed the papers. It flooded again in 2006 and 2009. The latter was the worst.

“I would say this was comparable to 2009. It made it to the front of our house and you can’t see the back fence.”

She remodeled the house not long after buying it, raising it eight feet to be out of the floodplain. Now it’s an island surrounded by water, with a dry strip of driveway connecting to Pioneer Highway.

“They said 100 year floodplain when we bought the house, which in real estate terms must mean every three years. We were overdue.”

She expects she’ll see more flooding this year. Every flood is different, and this one swept in quickly.

“It started to come in around midnight. You could hear it rushing. It came really fast.”

The water already has started to recede but as of 10 a.m. her house still was mostly surrounded.

Tuesday’s storm led to school closures and late starts.

Schools were reported closed Wednesday in Everett, Marysville, Mukilteo, Lakewood, Arlington, Index, Granite Falls, Lake Stevens, South Whidbey and the Northshore School District.

Stanwood’s Elger Bay Elementary school was closed due to a power outage. The same was true for five elementary schools in the Edmonds School District: College Place Elementary, Seaview Elementary, Meadowdale Elementary, Terrace Park, and Lynndale Elementary.

Schools were running two hours late in Snohomish, but on time in Sultan.

Edmonds Community College was closed.

Street crews worked through the night in Marysville to clear fallen trees, but there were many stretches they couldn’t get to because of downed power lines.

“That’s the sticky wicket we are finding right now,” said Bronlea Mishler, a City of Marysville spokeswoman.

In Everett, two crews were working 12 hour shifts through the storm and into Wednesday to clean up the roads.

There were roughly 120 trees over city right of ways, said Marla Carter, the city’s public works spokeswoman. Each shift included four crews with loaders and dump trucks to remove the trees, three crews removing loose limbs and four sweepers.

The city also was closing the Lowell-Snohomish River Road between Everett and Snohomish due to flooding.

The Washington State Patrol reported 53 crashes in Snohomish County, from the time the storm began Tuesday morning until daybreak Wednesday, trooper Mark Francis said.

There were 149 calls for service, mostly downed trees, disabled vehicles and traffic lights out. Even after the winds began to subside Tuesday evening, drivers faced other challenges, Francis said.

There were five accidents at Highway 530 and I-5 near Arlington around 5 a.m. as a hailstorm pounded the area, he said.

The Snohomish River at both Monroe and near the city of Snohomish was expected to remain above major flood stage today and would not expected to recede until Thursday, the National Weather Service reported.

The river was forecast to crest near Monroe at 10 a.m., reaching 20.2 feet. Flood stage is 15 feet. Downstream at Snohomish, it was expected to rise to about 31.3 feet around 4 p.m. Flood stage there is 25 feet.

A flood warning was canceled for urban areas and small streams in southwestern Snohomish County.

Conditions were expected to mostly dry out in the days ahead. The clear skies on Wednesday morning were expected to cloud up later in the day, possibly bringing some scattered showers, said Johnny Burg, a meteorologist with the weather service.

“Not enough to add anything to the rivers, really,” Burg said.

After a dry weekend, rain was forecast to return on Monday.

Winds were expected to remain light Wednesday, following the fierce gusts that toppled trees and power lines a day earlier.

Wind speeds might reach a maximum of 10 mph on Wednesday evening.

“This will definitely be a lot quieter today,” Burg said.

The National Weather Service recorded a 57 mph peak gust at Paine Field at 12:41 p.m. Wednesday.

Stretches of U.S. 2 between Gold Bar and Deception Falls remained closed from Tuesday because of standing water and fallen trees.

Crews hoped to reopen the highway by noon Wednesday, said Mike Allende, a spokesman with the state Department of Transportation.

Highway 530 just east of Arlington was closed overnight because of flooding from the Stillaguamish River. It had reopened by 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Snohomish County officials were starting to collect reports of storm damage from sheriff’s deputies and the public.

“Right now, we’re really seeing a lot of being roads blocked by trees,” said Heather Kelly, a program manager from the county’s Department of Emergency Management. “We don’t have any reports of major flood impacts or damage.”

County and city public works crews were out clearing the roadways along with utility workers.

The Snohomish River wasn’t expected to crest around the city of Snohomish until late Wednesday afternoon.

Snohomish County expected by noon to open a damage assessment hotline, for homeowners and businesses to report damages associated with the flooding or the windstorm. To qualify for state or federal support, damage must be uninsured, but county emergency management officials are encouraging people to report all damage.


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