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City of Seattle
Gregory J. Nickels (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: City of Seattle Responds to Historic Rainfall

12/3/2007  3:45:00 AM

City of Seattle Responds to Historic Rainfall

Second-Wettest Day in City History

SEATTLE -More than 5.8 billion gallons of record rainfall, the equivalent of six Green Lakes full of water, has caused neighborhood flooding and landslides throughout the city of Seattle.

The city activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and hundreds of Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), Seattle City Light, Seattle Department of Transportation, Department of Planning and Development, Seattle Fire Department and Police crews are responding to rain-related health and safety incidents.

"This is the kind of rain that pushes all of our systems and resources to their limits," said Mayor Greg Nickels. "Hundreds of City of Seattle workers have responded, working hard to keep people safe, protect property and keep the city moving. We'll keep our emergency center open and crews out in the field as long as needed."

SPU's Operations Response Center received more than 800 calls since midnight, more than 10 times the usual number, and exceeding the record citizen calls during last year's Hannukah Eve Storm. SPU has all available crews responding, including six vactor trucks that are cleaning out drains throughout the city. The city's Customer Service Center received 1800 citizen phone calls by early afternoon.

The City of Seattle reminds citizens to call the following numbers during flooding emergencies:

  • (206) 684-3000 to report non-life threatening problems with power, water, sewer or drainage;
  • (206) 386-1800 if there is a blockage below the street surface that is not remedied by removing the obstacle;
  • 911 if life or property is at risk.

As of 3:00 p.m., crews are responding to dozens of flooded streets, intersections and mudslides, including:

  • Flooding at Golden Gardens Park and along Piper's Creek in NW Seattle, Longfellow Creek in West Seattle, and Thornton Creek and Meadowbrook Pond in NE Seattle. Several city streets have standing water, including the Battery Street Tunnel, whose southbound lanes are closed.

  • The area surrounding North 107th Street and Midvale Avenue N is affected by serious flooding, including the intersection.

  • 35th Avenue NE is closed from approximately NE 100th Street to NE 110th Street due to water on the road. Nathan Hale High School is closed for the next two days, due to flooding on 35th Avenue NE.

Drivers are strongly cautioned to not drive through standing water.

  • Heavy rains have caused dozens of mudslides throughout the city, including the 2400 block of Westlake Avenue that closed Westlake Avenue at the 2000 block for several hours. City crews reopened the street by mid-afternoon, with one lane remaining closed.

Emergency Shelters:

Those who have been displaced by flooding can contact the Red Cross, who are setting up emergency shelters in Shoreline. The Red Cross 24-hour phone number is (206) 323-2345.

The City of Seattle's severe weather shelters at City Hall and the Frye Shelter are open.

The City Hall Shelter is co-ed and will open at 9:00 p.m. People will enter at the 4th and Cherry entrance.

The Frye Severe Weather Shelter is for women only. The shelter will open at 8:00 p.m. Frye Shelter staff will be at the Women's Referral Center from 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and will accompany women to the shelter at the Frye as a group. From 8 p.m. on women will be accepted at the Frye directly.

Given the extreme rain and weather over the past two few days, additional overflow shelter will be provided on Monday December 3. People may access the overflow shelter at Downtown Emergency Services Center, located at 517 Third Avenue, after 9:30 p.m. Referrals are not required.

What to do if your home is flooded:

The City of Seattle advises residents to take the following precautions if their properties are flooded:

  • When reentering the building, use flashlights, rather than lanterns or candles (in case of gas leaks).

  • Turn off power at circuit breaker for areas exposed to flooding. If the circuit breaker is threatened by flood waters, contact Seattle City Light at (206) 684-3000 to request a crew come out and turn the power off.

  • Keep children and pets away from the area.

  • Have a professional check your heating system, electrical panel, outlets and appliances for safety before using. Call the gas company to have them turn the gas back on.

  • Check for structural damage that could cause the building to collapse. Be cautious of potential gas leaks, electrical shorts and live wires.

  • If there is a heavy storm and sewage backs up through sinks or toilets, call Seattle Public Utilities' sewer and drainage maintenance staff, (206) 386-1800. City workers will check and remove blockages in the main sewer line. If the problem is the result of too much storm water in the system, you may have to wait until the storm has subsided to have the backup resolved.

  • Thoroughly clean the contaminated area. Use rubber gloves and disinfectants.

  • Discard saturated wall-to-wall carpet and pad; clean all hard surfaces with hot water and soap, then rinse with a bleach solution of one tablespoon of household bleach to one gallon of water.

  • Call Public Health-Seattle and King County for more detailed information, (206) 296-4632.

  • Document your losses. Photograph damages and record repair costs.

  • Contact your insurance agent for flood loss claims.

Help prevent additional flooding:

Rake a drain. Use a rake to completely remove leaves and debris from storm drains so they will not come back during the next storm. Place the leaves in your yard waste cart to be turned into compost. If you collect more leaves than you can dispose of, call (206) 684-3000 for assistance.

Adopt a Drain. Volunteer to Adopt-a-Drain and commit to keeping one or more street drains free of leaves and debris. SPU will support volunteers with gloves, bags, brooms, rakes, and safety vests, and can also help with disposing of leaves. Adopting a drain is easy and can be done by visiting or calling (206) 684-7647.

Maintain gutters and downspouts. Clean your gutters and the drainage downspouts attached to your roof twice a year. Direct flows from downspouts away from your home, without discharging flows to adjacent properties.

Maintain drainage systems. Don't put grass clippings, leaves or other debris into the drains, ditches, creeks, culverts, gutters or ravines. (In fact, it's against the law). If you live at the base of a hill or on a cliff, ensure that drainage and retaining walls are in good shape. Preventative planting can also help reduce the chance of a mud slide or flooding.

Inspect your roof. Inspect for leaks or damage to rain gutters that could cause a flat roof to flood.

Know where your shut offs are. If flooding occurs, you'll need to know how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches and valves.


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