Stillaguamish River recedes, leaving a soaking mess

GRANITE FALLS — Tim Horton had been warned to expect flooding after he and his family moved in February to a home along the South Fork Stillaguamish River.

The Florida transplant didn’t expect the waters to reach 5 feet up the side of his house, cake his yard with mud and wipe out a good chunk of his back yard.

On Monday, the 34-year-old was among the many cleaning up his garage and basement after the Stillaguamish reached record levels a day earlier.

“Everybody’s been real supportive so I think we’ll bounce back,” Horton said.

Monday was a day for boots, shovels and pumps as people returned to homes and businesses to assess damage.

Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon said much work remained for assessing damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure. He took a helicopter tour Monday over some of the affected areas. Damage would have been worse, he said, were it not for preparation by county crews, such as distributing 1,100 yards of sand and 5,000 sandbags.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the county that levees and dikes along Ebey Island in the lower Snohomish River were secure and under close watch.

The Snohomish County Chapter of the American Red Cross had just one family staying at an emergency shelter at a Stanwood church as of Monday afternoon, said Chuck Morrison, the chapter’s executive director. Several other people had called about the shelter, and Morrison said it was possible that others would show up. Shelters in Granite Falls and Mountlake Terrace closed Monday.

Just outside Arlington, the flood’s power was in evidence along Highway 530 near Twin Rivers County Park. Waters knocked over more than a dozen concrete highway barriers and turned soccer fields to mush.

Along Schloman Road, across the Stillaguamish from downtown Arlington, people threw a ball for a dog to fetch in a newly formed pond in a front yard. On Sunday, they said, they had gone kayaking in the yard and in nearby fields.

“Yesterday, we were standing on the dike about 11 o’clock, watching the water seeping up into the yard,” said Kris Marrinier, 23, who dropped by to see if his friend at the house needed help. “Finally, it came up into the front yard here.”

The lifelong Arlington resident said the flooding was the worst he’d seen, though the floods of 2008 were close.

Back in Granite Falls, Horton pointed to a tree that used to stand in his back yard on 116th Place NE. On Monday, it was overturned in the rushing Stillaguamish.

His neighbors warned him about the approaching storm. He couldn’t sleep Saturday night. By about 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, floodwaters began rushing into his basement. He remembered seeing huge trees carried along in the current and some of them crashing into the bank near his house.

He moved some of his stuff upstairs, and within an hour the water was ankle-deep.

“The second I touched that water it was ice cold, like pins and needles,” Horton said.

He began moving his four children, fiancee and two dogs out of the house to higher ground. He carried his youngest kids and his dogs. By the time they all got out, the water was waist-deep, he said.

The family returned home Sunday evening. The Stilly left behind a thick coating of muck and created a mess in the lower half of his house.

Malinda Lulham has lived in the neighborhood since 2005. She was there when the flooding swept along the Stilly in 2006. That year the water reached about a foot higher on her house than happened Sunday, she said.

“We’re pretty prepared,” she said. “You chose to live on the river and deal with it.”

Flood assistance

To report property damage to the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management, call 425-388-5088.

•Check with your insurance agent to check on your coverage.

Keep detailed records of all cleanup and repair costs. Take photographs.

To report a landslide to the state Department of Natural Resources, e-mail photos and information to A form and instructions are available at the DNR website,

Cleanup kits and sanitation tips were being distributed by the Red Cross from Granite Falls City Hall, 206 S. Granite Ave.; the Stanwood Fire Department, 8117 267th St. NW; and at the Chapter Office in Everett, 2530 Lombard Ave.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Initiative promoter Tim Eyman arrives to talk to reporters, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. The Washington Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously struck down Eyman's Initiative 976, a measure that would have steeply discounted the price of car registrations at $30 while gutting transportation budgets across Washington state. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Eyman must wait until December to get his day in court

His trial for alleged campaign wrongdoing was halted after a family member of someone on the AG’s staff fell ill.

Everett Community College anthropology instructor Cynthia Clarke. (Everett Community College) 20201123
EvCC mourns the loss of a strong-willed instructor

Cynthia Clarke taught anthropology while raising money for student programs and scholarships.

Members of the Marysville resue team, Matt Campbell (left) and Tobin McGowan string lights on the Marysville water towner Friday November 20, 2020. Holiday lights have been a tradition for decades, but last year the city skipped it because the tower needed repairs. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
After dark year, Marysville tower lights up for the holidays

Last year the water tower was not illuminated, breaking a nearly quarter century-long tradition.

Xiaomei, a recovered mother goat, is now in good health after a bad bout of mastitis earlier this year. (Kira Erickson / Whidbey News-Times)
Whidbey woman takes in two goats deemed lost cause

With snacks, cuddles, massages and Chinese medicine, she nurtured the animals back to health.

14 residents and four staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at Regency on Whidbey. (Regency on Whidbey)
COVID-19 outbreak being investigated at Regency on Whidbey

18 people have tested positive for coronavirus at the long-term care facility in Oak Harbor.

Whidbey man charged in assault hid loaded guns in kids’ rooms

Guns were found in a kitchen drawer, under a bed pillow and in each of the children’s bedroom closets.

Snohomish man, 26, dies in Saturday night crash

Colton R. Mayhew was the only person in the car. He crashed east of Snohomish and died at the scene.

Burton Clemans, an employee at Sisters for 8 years, packages up a Sisters cookie on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Sisters closes, for now, as eateries enter another lockdown

The four-week ban on indoor dining has local restaurants pondering whether to shut their doors for good.

A police boat heads out across Possession Sound while the search for a Tulalip police officer missing from a capsized Tulalip fisheries boat continues on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Search goes on for overboard Tulalip police officer

A diving expert, fire, fishing and police agencies helping Tulalip PD look for Charlie Cortez.

Most Read