Rainstorm floods Everett Red Cross office

EVERETT — A brief but boisterous rainstorm in Snohomish County last week has left a number of local cities, businesses and homeowners still mopping up the damage.

Up to two inches of rain fell within about two hours in some places on Thursday night, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle.

Perhaps the hardest hit was the American Red Cross office along Lombard Avenue in north Everett.

The building’s first floor sits below ground. As the rain overwhelmed the storm drains, roughly five inches of water poured inside, Executive Director Chuck Morrison said.

The space, which houses disaster services, utility assistance and first-aid and CPR classes, likely will be closed until the end of the year, Morrison said Tuesday.

“It has to be disinfected, and the drywall has to come out,” he said.

All of the wooden office furniture, and some of the rugs and class supplies were destroyed, Morrison said. Red Cross officials are waiting on a final tally for the damage.

For now, they are relocating office space and services to other parts of the building or nearby. They don’t anticipate any interruptions in services for people in need, Morrison said.

Since the storm Red Cross workers also have been helping people who live at four homes that were flooded. They’ve also provided aid to people displaced by three fires, Morrison said.

“We’re still open 24/7,” he said. “We can still get to everything.”

Last week’s quick, heavy rainfall more often is seen in places such as Florida and the Gulf Coast, said Jay Albrecht, a weather service forecaster.

Another rainstorm with possible thunder is likely to hit the area on Thursday evening, with a steadier rain expected on Friday, he said. More urban flooding and stream overflows are expected.

“It’s going to be spotty,” Albrecht said.

The area’s heaviest rain season typically starts around Halloween and carries through Christmas, he said.

Meanwhile, several city-owned Everett beaches were closed over the holiday weekend due to sewage overflow from the storm. As of Tuesday afternoon, Howarth Park and Pigeon Creek Park remained closed to swimmers.

The city has received as many as 40 reports of flooded basements since the storm, public works spokeswoman Marla Carter said.

On Tuesday, crews still were dropping off health information for people affected, she said. They also were working on a map of reported problems to look for possible patterns.

The city also is assessing potential damage claims, Carter said.

Snohomish County PUD has had to move staff around after flooding in its Calfornia Street headquarters. The water was a couple of inches deep in places, a spokesman said.

Problems caused by the storm continue in Edmonds and Mukilteo.

“Pretty much it was a gully washer,” said Robert McGaughey, Mukilteo’s public works director.

The beach at Lighthouse Park remained closed to swimmers on Tuesday due to sewage overflow, he said. Crews will monitor water samples until it’s safe again.

They also still are clearing out the stormwater system’s catch-basins, which filled with rocks and dirt during the storm, McGaughey said.

Mukilteo’s roads and streets are in good shape, though, he said.

“We’ve got a fair amount of repairs and maintance to do to our (stormwater) system,” he said. “Right now we’re developing a plan to get things cleaned up.”

Statistically, Edmonds sees rainstorms of that intensity and duration once every 100 years, said Phil Williams, the city’s public works and utilities director. There were several reports of standing water on building roofs on private property, in addition to urban flooding.

“That was a very impressive event,” he said.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449, rking@heraldnet.com.

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