Residents in Washington state flee floods caused by weekend storm

Residents are stunned by the cost of fighting the first storm of 2018, with the Denver metro area one of the areas affected

They heard it from little snow on top of that snow. Then they watched it climb up through the roof. Then it wetted their asphalt driveway. Finally, they saw it drop near the power lines. Then they smelled it.

A week’s worth of rain in one hour and flooding on roads led to evacuations in Washington state, which got walloped by the first big storm of 2018. The storm came with a mix of rain, snow and wind, closing schools and causing power outages.

The tarp on a #washingtonresident’s van covers a wing. National Guard members, firefighters and city workers use buckets and shovels to repair downed power lines caused by a weekend storm. Photograph: Steven Senne/AP

“Wet, wet, wet,” Jamie Hickey said. “I have been swamped.”

Hickey, a nurse who lives in the Mead area, said she woke up this morning to find the floodwaters had reached her attic and into her bedroom.

“I believe I just slid off the bed,” she said with a chuckle. “I fell asleep real fast.”

Soon, water had climbed into the floor. She called 911, but a responding officer told her she needed to go to the basement, where the water and smoke were worse. She and her husband spent much of the morning on top of her mini van, rolling it back and forth to try to drain the flooding room.

His parents’ house in Woodinville, south of Seattle, was taking a similar beating, though not as extensive. Josh Scott pointed to their carport that was nearly submerged.

“Once the carport floods like this, it takes a while to get it out,” he said. “It gets deeper and more dangerous.”

His parents and their families live in a neighborhood that offers a golf course, swimming pool and greenbelt. Everyone was OK, but he said it’s common for old houses to sink into the ground.

A series of cloud formations over Seattle on Saturday was caused by activity in the Gulf of Alaska. Photograph: The Weather Channel

“The water’s getting deeper, getting under the foundation, so a lot of people are scrambling,” he said.

In the Washington state capital of Olympia, police rescued people who were stranded in homes by high water. It flooded areas that had avoided major rainfalls in recent years.

The Denver metro area, where heavy rains, snow and wind hit much of the region, also had to deal with flooding. The second in a series of Pacific storms headed to the midwestern and midwestern states on Sunday, threatening to bring thunderstorms and more rain and snow.

People driving near Lake Lincoln in northeast Colorado took matters into their own hands by driving through water up to their knees on Saturday afternoon.

“At first it was, like, OK. I’m going to just kind of go through and I’ll see how high it gets,” said Jacob Cox, who also happened to have a high-water survival suit in his truck. “But it became a little more challenging.”

He caught video of a woman and her dog walking through ankle-deep water. The woman’s poodle walker, Jo-Ann, ran a half-mile to a nearby shelter. The family of four was given a room with a fireplace, blankets and snacks.

In Colorado Springs, state workers rescued the executive director of a nonprofit group from her flooded van on Friday. Jim Johnson was unharmed and got back in the vehicle to continue her rounds on Saturday.

Rainfall totals in other parts of the state were between .35 and .71in, according to the National Weather Service.

Johnson said there are often muddy places with broken water pipes.

“We deal with this and we do a lot of things to try to minimize the damages but this kind of rain, it’s going to make the stuff that needs fixing really bad,” she said.

Residents across much of the west are eager to see if the first winter storm of 2018 creates a repeat of what happened this weekend.

Leave a Comment