January 13, 2009 in City

West Side getting a break from the weather

Cleanup continues under clearing skies
Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Annette Pole, left, and Corliss Serka work Monday to free a bicycle caught in a fence in front of Serka’s flood-ravaged home in Carnation, Wash.
(Full-size photo)

SEATTLE – Residents and business owners cleaning up from floods across much of Washington got a welcome forecast Monday for clearing skies and little or no chance of rain through the weekend.

The National Weather Service predicted the last drippiness following a damp but downpour-free weekend would end by Monday night in Western Washington, followed by partly cloudy and sometimes sunny skies across practically all of the state through Sunday.

“It will be dry, and that’s good for the rivers,” said Danny Mercer, a weather service meteorologist.

“There’s no precipitation at all,” Mercer said. “It looks pretty guaranteed for the rest of the week.”

The last rivers above flood stage Monday morning, the Cedar in the suburbs southeast of Seattle and the Chehalis in western Lewis County, were receding slowly, and no further significant damage was expected. East of the Cascades, flooding also was coming to an end along the Yakima River.

Officials in hard-hit areas asked those with damage to file reports quickly, usually with county departments of emergency management.

Operators at the Pierce County Emergency Operations Center have received about 600 flood-related calls, spokeswoman Barbara Nelson said.

“We need people to be really careful when they’re cleaning up,” Nelson said.

In Carnation, east of Seattle in the Snoqualmie River Valley, Jim Fay was working with a contractor on the three-bedroom, 1,500-square-foot rambler house he owns and rents to a man with a 15-year-old son. The house, built by his father in 1965, had never flooded until last week, when his renter was chased out by 16 inches of water.

Repairs will take “months and months,” Fay said, adding that he has flood insurance.

“We have to tear out all the walls, inside and out, all the cabinets … the linoleum on the floors and the particleboard underneath,” he said.

Corliss Serka said her home in Carnation got 2 to 3 feet of water.

“We’re trying to clean up,” Serka said. “We’re in a state of uncertainty. It’s soaked and deep in mud, in some places 2 to 3 inches of silt. … I’m not so overwhelmed by the mess as I am by the show of friendship and the lovingkindness of friends.”

Lingering trouble spots included Stanwood, near the mouth of the Stillaguamish River north of Everett; Index, east of Everett, where a slide blocked a road used by 100 people; and Richland, where authorities warned that wells could be contaminated by floodwater and high water threatened some livestock.

In Stanwood, a washed-out levee left about 20 houses isolated by high water south of the town’s sewage lagoon. Several homeowners said their damage was less than in past flooding because they had raised the level of the houses.

Hard feelings persisted during the cleanup in Pacific, where residents said they received little notice before the Army Corps of Engineers released water from Mud Mountain Dam on Thursday, inundating parts of the town between Seattle and Tacoma.

“I’m furious,” said Roberta Hales, 68. “Nobody told us. I came home at 7 p.m., and in an hour and a half we were walking around in 4 feet of water.”

A corps spokeswoman, Patricia Graesser, said the same amount of water, 11,700 cubic feet of water per second, was released to make room for runoff from additional rain and snowmelt during flooding in November 2006 without causing significant damage. The release was halted once the corps learned of the flooding in Pacific, she said.

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