MILL CREEK — For the beavers, it was a natural disaster that severely damaged their home.
For some people living in Mill Creek, it was a cruel trick of nature, and the results were nearly as bad.
The recent strong winds toppled a couple of trees that fell onto a beaver dam in a Mill Creek wetland Wednesday.
That unleashed a flood of water into a neighborhood.
Some homes were inundated with 4 to 5 feet of water, said Heather Chadwick with Snohomish County Fire District 7.
Public works, water district and fire personnel raced to find the source of the flooding while diverting water from houses. It took about six hours to find the broken beaver dam.
A woman living just east of Henry M. Jackson High School was blowing leaves in her yard around 10 a.m. when she noticed water creeping down the hill. The street quickly came to resemble a shallow river. Water poured from the wetlands north of the high school.
Anywhere from a half-dozen to a dozen homes were damaged, Chadwick said.
The neighborhood encompassing 136th Street SE and 137th Street SE was blocked off. Only homeowners were allowed in to check on their houses and rescue pets.
Snohomish County Public Works carried in sandbags to construct barriers around the houses. Crews also used hoses to pump water into a nearby storm drain that filters into a retention pond.
“The water is not slowing down,” Chadwick said. “The focus has been to help homeowners with sandbags and pump water out of the area as fast as possible, but it’s hard to keep up.”
Crews discovered the problem at the beaver dam Wednesday afternoon. By 4 p.m., the stream had begun to slow down, Kirk said.
The city asked that people avoid the area until the remaining water can be removed. That could take into Thursday.
A stretch of 136th Street SE between the high school and Bothell-Everett Highway remained closed. Drivers seeking access to the school Thursday morning can take 132nd Street SE or Trillium Boulevard as an alternative route.
People whose homes are affected by the flooding are asked to call the city’s public works department at 425-551-7254.
Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192; email@example.com.