Snohomish River next to spill over

  • By Alejandro Dominguez and Julie Muhlstein Herald Writers
  • Sunday, December 12, 2010 8:33pm
  • Local NewsLocal news

With the region’s rivers filled to overflowing, people along the Snohomish River can expect their turn Monday.

The Snoqualmie River where it meets the Snohomish River near Monroe was expected to crest about 4 this morning. The Snohomish River at the city of Snohomish is expected to crest about 9 a.m., said John Pennington, director of Snohomish County’s Department of Emergency Management, early Sunday evening.

And the Snohomish River could reach near-record levels with waters rising to 30.8 feet, almost 7 feet over flood stage.

Pennington said that although flooding was beginning to slow on the Stillaguamish, “the Snoqualmie and Tolt Rivers in King County are pushing toward Snohomish County, and will join the Snohomish River.”

The Snohomish River is expected to fall below flood stage by Monday night in Monroe, and by Tuesday morning in Snohomish.

The Stilly should fall below flood stage in Arlington and at the north and south forks sometime Monday morning.

The weather Monday shouldn’t be anything like this weekend, said Johnny Burg, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle.

Everett should see highs in the 50s, with some rain tonight. More showers are expected Tuesday as well, but nothing like Saturday.

Flood warnings should start going away Monday and Tuesday, Burg said.

In the mountains, snow levels are expected to drop to 3,500 feet by tonight. A winter storm watch is in effect for the Cascades, which could see up to 18 inches of snow between tonight and Tuesday nights.

People need to be careful, Burg said.

“Landslides will definitely be a possibility for the next couple of days due to rainfall,” he said.

Snohomish County Public Utility District reported no major problems Sunday night, officials said. However, with the ground saturated with water, trees could start coming down in heavy winds.

People along the rivers in eastern Snohomish County saw the rivers rise on Sunday, but flooding wasn’t major.

The city of Sultan had distributed sandbags to about a dozen spots that were flooding, city administrator Deborah Knight said. She considers the city fortunate.

“We managed to dodge the bullet,” she said.

People went out to the corner of First and Main streets in Sultan to take pictures of the flooded area.

Bridgett Edgar of Gold Bar was one of them. She was with her two children and her sister. They had spent the day going to flooded areas and taking pictures of the Skykomish and Wallace rivers. She wanted to show relatives living in other parts of the country how east Snohomish County gets flooded.

“This is kind of what we expected,” she said.

Jens Peitersen, 38, also was out with a camera, experiencing his first flood in Sultan.

“It’s great to see nature at its best,” he said.

The bridge crossing the Skykomish River at Sultan was crowded by people who parked to see the water rising.

Many people didn’t heed warnings not to drive through high water. Among them was the Box family of Sultan. Their minivan stalled out in flood waters along Mann Road as they headed toward U.S. 2.

They managed to push the van to higher ground.

The family was trying to reach Everett, where they had access to a truck better suited for flood season, Melissa Box said.

“We should have gotten it last night,” she said.

Errol Wall, 23, crossed by foot.

“It’s just water,” he said.

Around 8 p.m., firefighters from Station 5 rescued a 21-year-old man who got trapped in his Toyota Camry at the 30600 block of Ben Howard Road in Sultan. The man, from Rhode Island, was rescued without injuries.

People who live near Wallace River at Gold Bar paid close attention to the rising waters, but the mood there seemed relaxed Sunday.

By noon, the Wallace already had spilled its banks just past the bridge on 399th Avenue SE.

Jim Munn, who lives in Gold Bar, ventured across the fast-moving waters with his truck. He used to work for the county repairing roads.

“People build houses where they shouldn’t,” he said.

Along nearby Moonlight Drive, water reached the porch of Butch Kuykendall’s home. He already made sure the tools in his garage were off the floor. He invited over friends, who brought beverages.

“There’s plenty of beer for a flood,” he said. “What else can you do?”

Reporter Rikki King contributed to this report.

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@heraldnet.com

HeraldNet breaking news blog

HeraldNet flood page

View Western Washington flood forecast 07:45 12/12/2010 in a larger map

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