By Krista J. Kapralos, Diana Hefley and Debra Smith Herald Writers
SULTAN – Fire crews have found and rescued a homeless woman trapped by flood waters in Sultan this morning.
A rescue crew in a boat found the woman stranded on a spit of land surrounded by the bloated Sultan River near First Street in downtown. The woman was taken to the hospital in Monroe to be treated for hypothermia.
Crews rescued another homeless woman Thursday night. She was stranded by rising waters at an encampment in Sultan, said Fire District 5 Chief Merlin Halverson.
The National Weather Service was forecasting moderate flooding along the Skykomish today. The river was forecast to crest near Gold Bar at 17 feet by about 4 p.m.
River levels that high can be expected to case flooding from Index downstream through Sultan to the confluence with the Snoqualmie River, according to the weather service. Numerous road closures should be expected.
It’s the worst of the flooding so far in a storm that’s been building for days. The region bore the brunt of the storm Thursday night and into early this morning, when weather experts closely watched the Stillaguamish, Snohomish and Skykomish Rivers for flooding.
The Skykomish River rose above flood stage at 8 a.m., and is expected to crest at 15.6 feet around 4 p.m., said Allen Kam, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. The river is likely to fall below flood stage this evening.
In Sultan, crews closed First and Main and water was reported over Sultan Basin Road and Rice Road and Dyer Road at Wagley Creek. Emergency crews drove through the area Thursday night where homeless people camp out, warning them to evacuate in preparation for possible flooding. Area residents can prepare sandbags at 703 First Street in Sultan, where city Public Works crews will be on hand.
“That’s the only flood warning we have in effect at this time, but this is a fluid situation, so things could change,” Kam said.
Kam said meteorologists are closely watching the Snohomish River at Monroe, but said that river wasn’t near flood stage this morning.
A flood warning for the Stillaguamish River was canceled just before sunrise today, but concern lingers along the Skykomish and Snohomish rivers, officials said.
The Stillaguamish was forecast to continue to run high today, spurred by heavy rains. However, Snohomish County emergency management officials no longer expect that it will top its banks, according to Christopher Schwarzen, county spokesman.
The region last night and into early this morning bore the brunt of heavy rains. The 24-hour total for rainfall at Paine Field, as of 4 a.m., was just over one inch. At Seatac, rainfall was nearly two and a half inches, and nearly five inches in the southern Puget Sound region.
City and county officials warned that urban flooding could easily occur if storm drains were clogged with fallen leaves and other debris, and if the systems were overtaxed. Kam said no urban flooding has been reported yet today