Flooding

Enormous trucks from all over the country are rolling down highways toward Baton Rouge, La.

When they get to town, their task is to clear neighborhoods where streets are lined with trash from last week's massive flood.

Baton Rouge contracted with DRC Emergency Services to handle disaster response when the floods began last week. It started out rescuing people in boats, and now that the boats are docked, trucks are coming in to handle the cleanup.

More than a week after record-breaking rain inundated 20 parishes in southeastern Louisiana, President Obama arrived Tuesday to survey the damage.

The president toured a neighborhood in East Baton Rouge Parish ravaged in the widespread flooding that has claimed more than a dozen lives and damaged some 60,000 homes. Afterward, he thanked first responders, the National Guard and "all the good neighbors" who rescued people as the water rose.

Devastating floods in Louisiana have left an estimated 40,000 houses damaged; some 86,000 people have applied for federal disaster aid in the wake of the disaster.

It's a crisis some people are comparing to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The disaster area stretches over 20 parishes, Eileen Fleming of member station WWNO reports, and officials are working to determine how to provide temporary housing to meet the extreme need.

Federal officials are expanding a disaster declaration in Louisiana after devastating floods killed at least 11 people and caused widespread property damage.

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Tuesday that 20 parishes are now under a disaster declaration with a "historic flood event" damaging some 40,000 homes and leading to the evacuation of 30,000 people from flood-soaked areas.

"Nobody has been forgotten," Edwards told reporters. "We understand there are still a lot of people who are suffering."

"We thought we were gone," one resident told The Washington Post.

"The whole house shook."

French President Francois Hollande is reportedly considering a state of emergency in his country, after days of heavy rain across western Europe caused major flooding that left thousands of people stranded.

Days of flooding in southeastern Texas have reportedly killed at least six people, and more rain is in the forecast.

The Brazos River, which runs 840 miles across much of the state, has already risen to record levels, submerging neighborhoods west of Houston and forcing hundreds of people to evacuate, according to The Associated Press.

The National Weather Service predicts that 4 to 5 more inches of rain are expected around Houston through the weekend.

In already waterlogged areas, just 1 inch would be enough to cause more flooding, the service warned.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

Upgrades to old infrastructure are often needed to help reduce the risk of flooding. That can lead to inconvenient road closures.

But the payoff is not just for humans. Replacing old culverts and pavement can also help endangered fish.

Backhoes and bulldozers will be working alongside SR 522 at Lake Forest Park Towne Center for the next couple of months. The city is re-plumbing the culverts beneath this roadside mall. The main motivation for the work, at least initially, was major flooding.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

 

Grays Harbor County commissioners approved an emergency declaration for their coastal county Tuesday in the wake of flooding and landslides.

Damage assessment and cleanup is underway in half a dozen river basins around western Washington.

WSDOT

Police are urging residents of a Hoquiam neighborhood to evacuate because of landslide danger, after heavy overnight rains caused mudslides and flooding through Grays Harbor County.

Pierce County Television

Devastating floods in the Puyallup River valley near Orting are soon to become a thing of the past.

The city is breaking ground on a new $16 million levy. The project will restore the landscape around the river at the foot of Mount Rainer to something more natural, with room for floodwaters to soak into the landscape.

King County has released an app that puts flood warning information at residents' fingertips. The smartphone- and tablet-friendly app displays real-time flooding information on major rivers in the county.

WSDOT

November, which marks the start of flood season in the Northwest, is just around the corner. And the National Weather Service says there is high potential for rivers to burst their banks from now through February.

This winter will bring what is known as a “neutral” weather pattern; we won't see the milder El Niño nor the wetter, windier La Niña this winter. But that hardly means we get a break.

A neutral winter can mean trouble for those who live or work near flood plains in western Washington as it brings the highest number of so-called “Pineapple Express” events during which an atmospheric river forms off the coast. 

Bellamy Pailthorp photo / KPLU News

Recent summer storms have many locals concerned about urban flooding, or fast-flowing water overwhelming storm drains.

In Seattle’s Madison Valley neighborhood, outdated infrastructure led to a tragic death in 2006, but the city says the chronic flooding there should be fixed now.

YouTube

UNION, Wash. — A flooding river covered a road in Washington, allowing some migrating salmon to swim across the pavement.

Federal water and dam managers are draining reservoirs in the Columbia and Snake River basins to get ready for "big water" coursing downriver. In recent weeks, the Army Corps of Engineers has called for bigger drawdowns -- or as the agency calls it "drafting" -- to protect against flooding. Supervisory engineer Peter Brooks says more room is needed to catch runoff from the bountiful snows of March.

Associated Press

Climate experts have predicted a colder and wetter than normal winter on the way for Washington, thanks to a second year in a row of La Nina’s effects. 

While some people in the area will be happy about a surge in showers, a lot more are probably disappointed or worried.

Benton County Emergency Services Dept.

Some areas of the Northwest remain at risk of flooding. But residents along the Yakima River are cleaning up flood damage as the water recedes.

The Snoqualmie River is cresting at the falls this morning. These two videos were shot by Carol Wells yesterday on an Android-platform smart phone. 

Courtesy Laura James

Making headlines this morning:

  • Puget Sound Murky From Stormwater Runoff
  • More Heavy Rains Coming, with Potential Flooding
  • Tacoma Considers Closing a High School

A veteran Washington State Department of Transportation worker has died after being hit by a falling tree during Sunday night's rain storm.  Maintenance Superintendent Jim McBride said the worker was setting up safety cones to alert motorists to downed power lines when the tree fell on his truck and killed him on Highway 203 just south of Carnation. 

Department spokeswoman Kris Olsen identified the man as 66-year-old Billy Rhynalds, a 12-year veteran of the department.

Lauren Padgett / Bonney Lake-Sumner Patch.com

Rain continues to fall Friday, and forecasters say over the next few days some areas may get 9 inches or more. Combined with past days' heavy rain and warmer temperatures melting mountain snow, some areas King, Pierce and Snohomish counties report minor flooding and road-blocking mudslides.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for most of western Washington. The statement lists areas of main flooding concern, including:

Twitpic/KING5unit9

Overnight storm knocks out power to tens of thousands, flooding rivers are receding, video of a water rescue near Everett, and rail commuters get a reprieve.

Twitpic/PeterM_KOMO

Floods and mudslides follow heavy rains, commuters can expect delays, and Seattle counts the landslides.

KOMO TV via YouTube

Record rainfall in the Pacific Northwest has triggered mudslides and caused record flooding along some Western Washington rivers.  As many rivers recede this morning, some are still cresting, including the Snohomish River, where water levels are expected to remain above flood stage through Tuesday.

The Herald of Everett reports the Snohomish is being fed by the flooding Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers:

AP

Rains expected to cause flooding, high-speed rail in Washington gets a windfall, lawmakers convene for a day.