Life came to a staggering halt on Thursday morning in Issaquah. Issaquah Creek’s water level has reached phase 4, with extreme flooding throughout Issaquah and Tibbetts Creek valleys.
Issaquah School District schools started two hours late today due to flooding impacting roadways across the district.
“Following non-stop rain, Issaquah neighbors are experiencing historic flooding. Issaquah Creek’s level is at phase 4,” Issaquah Mayor Mary Lou Pauly said in a Twitter message Thursday morning. “Maximum flood-fighting efforts are in effect. Our police, fire and operations crews are working around the clock to address flooding threats and helping keep our community safe.”
Flood phase information is typically posted if flood levels are at phase 2 or above. The city of Issaquah posts flood phase information on radio station 1700 AM, TV station ICTV channel 21, the city of Issaquah’s social media accounts or the city of or online at issaquahwa.gov.
Free sandbags are available at the Issaquah Community Center, 301 Rainier Blvd S.
- Newport Way Southwest between Front Street South and Wildwood Boulevard Southwest is closed.
- Both directions of Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast are closed at Southeast May Valley Road.
- State Route 900 is closed from Northwest Talus Drive to Southeast May Valley Road.
- There’s water over the roadway at Sycamore Drive Southeast near the Issaquah Creek bridge. Emergency personnel do have access to the Sycamore neighborhood. If you need help, call 911 (emergency) or 425-837-3200 (non-emergency).
National Weather Service (NWS) senior service hydrologist Brent Bower said the flood warning for the area was issued last night. The rainfall should be cresting by early afternoon and the flood warning is expected to be lifted by 6 p.m. tonight.
“We’re also responding to stormwater issues as they come in through our emergency operations center,” said Autumn Monahan, the assistant to the city administrator. “Throughout the day, we’re going to continue to monitor forecasts, Issaquah Creek levels, respond against floods and stormwater issues and ensure that we’re keeping our community updated.”
Last week, Issaquah experienced heavy rainfalls, which has added to the high water levels today.
“The impacts of this most current rainfall were kind of falling on top of impacts from the previous storm event, and there just wasn’t enough time for the rivers to get back down toward more seasonal flows before this rain event hit,” King County media relations coordinator Doug Williams said. “So, that kind of created an additional flooding problem.”
Flooding waters are not only impacting civilians, but also the Friends of Issaquah Salmon Fishery (FISH). Floodwaters at the hatchery run from 100-300 cubic feet, and is dependent on the season, although today waters are running at 2,360 cubic feet.
This excess of water is having a negative impact on the salmon population, but as of now, the water is below the raceways where the fish are kept.
“Any natural spawning in the stream, with the high waters that we’ve had this fall and winter, have pretty much been washed away, unfortunately,” FISH’s executive director Robin Kelley said. “So now the ones that we’re raising here inside and out on the grounds are that much more important.”
The primary focus of staffers has been on the placement of sandbags and protecting the fish. Silt, or dirt that gets carried in running water, has the potential to suffocate the eggs. The unhatched eggs are stored in trays, and employees have been manually shaking out the silt. Smaller fish were moved to a pond on the grounds yesterday, where they are able to better combat the silt.
To learn more about flooding in the area, visit the NWS or the city of Issaquah’s website.