Seattle District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Emergency Operations Center and flood response teams continue local flood fight efforts in communities impacted by back-to-back atmospheric rivers bringing heavy precipitation to the region.
The second atmospheric river, that began Nov. 13 late evening, primarily impacted the Skagit River basin in the north Cascades and the Olympic Peninsula and will continue through Nov. 15. The additional rain, combined with saturated soils, will cause river levels to rise again and exceed flood stage throughout Western Washington.
The Corps is helping Skagit County Diking District #22 install a seepage berm along about 2,000 linear feet of a levee on Fir Island, Washington. The berm will help stabilize the levee during peak flood flows. The flood response team will be working through the night to install the berm and monitor the Skagit levees during the flood event.
A flood response team deployed today to Nooksack, Washington, to meet with stakeholders, monitor vulnerable areas and provide technical assistance. A flood response team, that deployed Nov. 12 to White River, Snohomish County, Washington, re-deployed today to identify boils and seepage issues and advise the county how to mitigate against possible flooding, while another flood response team deployed to meet with the Elwha Tribe on the Olympic Peninsula. The team will monitor levees along the Dungeness and Elwha rivers and provide technical assistance to the Elwha Tribe and Clallam County.
Additional Corps flood response teams are also on alert for multiple basins.
The Corps’ Reservoir Control Center is fully activated and now on 24-hour operations to monitor conditions and respond to forecasted flooding. The RCC manages and regulates Mud Mountain and Howard Hanson Dams, both located near Enumclaw. Both reservoirs are near empty and have storage space available to greatly reduce the risk of flooding on those rivers. It also manages Ross and Upper Baker, two Section 7 (non-USACE) reservoirs in the Skagit River basin, and Wynoochee dam (a Section 7 reservoir) in the Chehalis River basin when pre-defined flood flow thresholds are forecasted in those basins.
The RCC took over flood control operations at Ross and Upper Baker dams this morning. Wynoochee Dam is being closely monitored to determine whether Corps flood operations are required.
Public Law 84-99 enables the Corps to assist state and local authorities in flood fight activities and cost share in the repair of flood protection structures. The purpose is to prevent loss of life and minimize property damage associated with severe weather.
Private citizens seeking sandbags should contact their local government offices.
The National Weather Service issues flood watches and warnings and should be consulted for that information.