Rainfall causes floods, mudslides

By Sara Bruestle | Sep 11, 2013
Courtesy of: Julie Bogart Payton Bogart, 14, stands knee deep in rainwater in the crosswalk on 104th Street S.W. near Columbia Elementary after the storm on Aug. 29. She jokingly referred to it as “Columbia Lake.”

Extreme rainfall on the evening of Aug. 29 overwhelmed Mukilteo’s stormwater system, causing flooding and mudslides throughout the city.

It rained 1.25 inches in Mukilteo between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

The storm inundated the city’s stormwater system, filling catch basins, plugging pipes, washing out culverts and overflowing on to the streets.

Rainfall at Paine Field Airport in Everett was 1.30 inches in 24 hours, according to NWS records. That is more rainfall than Puget Sound usually gets throughout the month of August.

“It’s pretty rare to get a whole month’s rainfall in one and a half hours,” said NWS meteorologist Josh Smith. “It maybe happens every 5-10 years.”

Many residents called 911 to report that their garages or basements had flooded and had up to 6 inches of standing water. The city had 26 reports of localized flooding.

“We had a good old time gully washer, is what we had,” said Public Works Director Rob McGaughey.

McGaughey said the storm also caused some mudslides, including one near 61st Place and another by Naketa Beach Road, but none damaged property or covered the train tracks.

A culvert across the access road to the Big Gulch Water Treatment Plant was also “blown out” and in need of repairs, McGauhey said.

“A little stream turned into a big stream, and we had a foot of mud from the trail to the sewage treatment plant,” he said. “The road is in peril. Repairing that is our biggest priority.”

There were also reports of water over the roadways, including on Loveland Avenue and Campbell Drive. Cyrus Way was closed until the water receded.

The rainfall flooded Doug and Kim Cunningham’s garage, which is their home office.

Three storm drains in front of their home on 62nd Place West overflooded with the rains, and excess water rushed into the garage. In a matter of minutes, their office was 5-6 inches deep in water.

“It was like a river,” Doug Cunningham said. “It had no place to go except down our driveway.”

A software developer, Cunningham was working at home at the time of the flood, so he managed to save his computers – but desks, bookcases and other supplies were lost.

“It was crazy,” Cunningham said. “There was nothing I could do. It was just horrible.”

He estimates damages at $5,000. None of it is covered by insurance.

“They’re calling it flood damage, so I’m not going to receive a dime,” he said. “Living on a bluff, you wouldn’t think you’d need it (flood insurance).”

The city’s Public Works Department will be working with the Mukilteo Water and Wastewater District to make repairs to the stormwater system. McGaughey estimates it will take crews three weeks to clean up and make repairs.

“This was a freak storm,” he said. “The stormwater system wasn’t built to convey... a flash flood.”

Here are just some of the calls that 911 received on Aug. 29:

A resident reported that the street in front of her home on the 10700 block of 64th Place West was flooding and washing out her garden.

Another resident reported that his home on the 9000 block of Surrey Lane had flooded.

A caller also reported that there was about 2.5 feet of water over the roadway at the intersection of Cyrus Way and Harbour Pointe Boulevard S.W.

Flooding was also reported on the 12100 block of Harbour Reach Drive. There was so much water on the road that cars reportedly had to turn around.

A caller reported that the train tracks were flooding at the 8200 block of Naketa Beach Road.

One vehicle was found stuck in about 3 feet of water on the 12300 block of Cyrus Way. It had to be towed out.

A building on the 4400 block of Chennault Beach Road also flooded.

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