FALL CITY — Bob Moe often relies on 356th Drive Southeast to get to and from his house. The curving road is his only access to Highway 202, one of the main thoroughfares connecting the community with the Eastside.
About halfway between his Fall City home and Highway 202, a portion of 356th Drive looks like it’s been halved by a deep crack, the result of a slow-moving slide under the road that officials say could worsen as the area gets more rain through the weekend.
King County has advised residents living around the area to evacuate, in case the road is further damaged or washed out. If they stay put, the residents of the roughly 75 homes in the area are at risk of being stranded for weeks.
Crews measuring ground movement didn’t see any changes Tuesday from the day before, said King County Road Services spokesperson Broch Bender, but heavy rain could accelerate the movement.
“Right now, while it’s safe to travel, we want to make sure people are aware,” Bender said.
One lane of the road is open, but dozens of roads throughout King County roads remain closed because of landslides and flooding after the region was soaked with rainfall over the past two weeks. Damage from flooding and snowstorms has totaled more than $3 million, according to the office of Gov. Jay Inslee, who issued an emergency proclamation Tuesday for 25 counties, including King, Snohomish and Pierce. The proclamation directs state agencies to assist communities affected by winter weather and allows the state to apply for federal grants to repair roadways, according to the governor’s office.
Moe has been measuring the amount of rain that’s fallen at his home since Feb. 1 — about 10 inches, he said. On Tuesday, he stopped by the cracked road, which is about one mile north of Highway 202. Despite the evacuation advisory, he’s not planning on staying anywhere else overnight.
“I don’t need to,” he said. “I’ve got plenty of food.”
Crews likely won’t be able to fully the repair the road until the rainy season ends, said King County Road Services spokesperson Broch Bender. Cars can still get through on one lane, but the county Tuesday afternoon barred heavy commercial trucks from using the road.
If conditions worsen, residents could end up in a similar situation to those living in Skyview Estates, a development east of Monroe where access has been cut off since last week because of a landslide. The only accessible road was destroyed, so residents can only get through by all-terrain vehicle, or on foot.
The Red Cross has opened an emergency shelter at Snoqualmie Valley Alliance Church for anyone affected by the evacuations. The shelter has room for about 50 people, said Red Cross volunteer Bob Tykulsker, but no one stayed overnight Monday or had shown up Tuesday afternoon.
Several spots along rivers remained under flood warnings Tuesday. The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the Cedar River in Renton through Tuesday evening and the White River at R Street near Auburn. Water levels on the White River will rise over the next two days because of occasional water releases from the Mud Mountain Dam, the weather service said.
Residents and business owners whose property was damaged or had other losses because of winter storms since Jan. 20 may be eligible for assistance, according to King County. The county will determine who is eligible through a damage assessment process that totals all reported losses during the winter storms. Anyone who thinks they may be eligible is asked to submit loss reports to King County Emergency Management at kingcounty.gov/damage or by calling 1-800-523-5044, starting 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Elsewhere, Mount Rainier National Park remains closed while crews work to stabilize roads in the area, park spokeswoman Terry Wildy said Tuesday.
Highway 706, the main entrance into the park for most visitors, is still blocked. Wildy said transportation officials aren’t sure when they’ll reopen it.
“Both slides are still unstable,” she said. “They’re still shedding debris and there’s more debris that could come down.”
Staff reporter Elise Takahama contributed to this report.
Correction: King County says residents and business owners who suffered losses because of winter storms since Jan. 20 may be eligible for federal assistance. An earlier version of this story said the county was offering financial assistance.