River flooding not so bad; road damage more severe

This morning’s daylight brought good news and bad.

River flooding in eastern Snohomish County valleys is far less than feared but road damage near Mill Creek likely will take weeks to fix, officials said.

A culvert below Seattle Hill Road collapsed leaving hole in the roadway that is 20 feet deep and 30 feet wide, said Janice Fahning, a state Department of Transportation engineer.

How long it will take to fix was not immediately known.

“It could take days to weeks, we just don’t know,” Fahning said.

In Snohomish, the Snohomish River charged past downtown this morning carrying trees, root balls and giant limbs down stream.

“It’s amazing to see what the river can do,” said Monica Saur, who was out for a walk with her boyfriend, Frank Stipe.

No major damage was reported and the river was forecast to rise only a couple of feet above flood stage, weather service experts said.

Last night Stipe, who moved to a home about 25 feet from the river last year, said he filled a few sandbags before he learned it wasn’t going to be that bad.

“We called our neighbors who have been here for a while and they told us it wasn’t necessary,” he said.

During the floods of 2006, the couple evacuated their home for six days, although the house was spared severe damage, Saur said.

She said she was thankful they made it two years in a row without suffering property loss or injuries.

“We’re just really lucky that nothing bad happened and that everyone is safe and dry,” Saur said.

Near Monroe, Elma Steffen, 82, said she’s not concerned about the river this year.

“Today, it’s not going to flood,” she said.

The biggest problems seemed to be large puddles that filled low-lying farm land along U.S. 2 between Monroe and Sultan and water covering roads.

Ben Howard Road near Monroe was closed and many other streets countywide were shut.

Heavy rain Monday caused sewage plants to spill untreated waste water into Puget Sound waters, state officials said.

State Department of Ecology strongly recommended people avoid contact with marine water and wait until next week to resume recreational shellfishing.

Rain and winds are forecast to ease today.

By Thursday, temperatures are expected to dip near freezing and dry weather is predicted for the weekend, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle.

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