At Rogue Ales and Spirits in Issaquah, General Manager Roxy Ortiz placed eight sandbags behind the restaurant, which sits near Issaquah Creek. She filled the bags at the city’s police station before coming into work, after seeing how fast the waters were rising.
The flooding hadn’t yet reached beyond the parking lot Thursday afternoon, but she and other employees were prepared to evacuate if needed.
The creek, Ortiz said, is usually calm.
“I’ve never seen it like this,” she said.
Floodwaters from the creek forced about 200 residents, including children and pets, from nearby apartment complexes on Wildwood Boulevard Southwest and Newport Way Southwest on Thursday afternoon. No one was injured, but some residents had to be escorted out of buildings by firefighters, Eastside Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Richard Burke said.
Several cars were partially submerged as water flowed into parking lots and under the Park Shore Apartment building.
Days of steady rain prompted flood warnings for rivers throughout the Puget Sound region, including the Snohomish River near Monroe and at Snohomish; the Pilchuck near Snohomish; as well as the Tolt, the Puyallup and Issaquah Creek. Throughout the area, streets were flooded, cars were stalled, homes were evacuated and public transit routes were canceled.
And relief isn’t expected anytime soon. The rain is expected to keep falling until Saturday evening, meaning some rivers won’t reach their crest until the weekend, said National Weather Service meteorologist Dana Felton.
The floodwaters swamped the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, where standing water remained in the parking lot and under signs for rainbow trout and chinook fry. The hatchery is home to about 4 million fish and 100,000 eggs — all of which were kept safe during the rainstorm.
“There’s significant flooding over here,” said Robin Kelley, the hatchery’s executive director. “Most of the grounds are covered in water. There were streams running down the sidewalks and through the parking lot. It’s like a lake.”
Officials from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife were alerted to the possibility of flooding at the hatchery earlier this week, and made “great efforts” to watch water levels, deliver sandbags and make sure the salmon were protected, Kelley said.
In Snohomish County, owners of flood-threatened farms brought livestock to the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe. Twenty-eight horses from a farm near Woods Creek were expected to arrive Thursday evening, along with two pygmy goats, and the fairground’s caretaker said more could be coming.
Because of the rising water near Enumclaw, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stationed lookouts at the Mud Mountain Dam on the White River and the Howard A. Hanson Dam on the Green River, running 24-hour emergency operations, according to a statement.
Both dams’ primary purpose is to manage flood risks, though Western Washington senior water manager Jon Moen said in the statement that water levels could reach those “not seen in over 10 years.”
Moen said he expects inflows to peak late Thursday or early Friday morning.
Some transit lines also came to a halt Thursday. Sound Transit suspended its Sounder North commuter-train service to Edmonds, Mukilteo and downtown Everett on Thursday afternoon and all day Friday, because of soggy slopes in the Everett area.
A combination of nonblocking mudslides, more than two weeks of precipitation and saturated soil findings by the U.S. Geological Survey all played a role in the decision, transit spokesman John Gallagher said.
A rider alert lists bus alternatives that north line passengers can use to get home, such as Community Transit 416 to Edmonds; 417 to Mukilteo; and ST Express 510 to Everett. In addition, extra buses will be sent around King Street Station to take on commuters at Fifth Avenue South east of International District/Chinatown Station, and at Fourth Avenue South and South Jackson Street, immediately north of the King Street Station.
This week’s heavy rain ended a streak of good fortune for the north line, which made it through the entire 2018-19 rainy season without being stopped by mudslides.
The region has had a near-constant stream of rain since two back-to-back dry days on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, with measurable precipitation on 43 of the last 50 days, said Felton, the weather service meteorologist.
During the last three days, Longmire on Mount Rainier received 7.5 inches of rain, the Howard Hanson Reservoir got 6 inches and Snoqualmie Falls got 3.6 inches.
“And we’re not done with the rain yet,” he said.
Meteorologist Art Gaebel said the Seattle area will stay fairly wet as we go into the weekend, with some gusty winds blowing through the coast Friday afternoon and evening.
A little break in the rain clouds may start Sunday morning and last through Tuesday or Wednesday, when another weather system from the north is predicted, Gaebel said.
King County Executive Dow Constantine signed a local emergency proclamation Thursday in response to the severe flooding, landslides and other damage from the heavy rain. The proclamation allows county staff to speed up response and turnaround times for departments that need to make repairs, a statement from his office said.
On Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee also issued an emergency proclamation for 19 Washington counties, including King, Pierce and Snohomish, because of significant winter weather that is forecast to continue through this weekend.
Road damage caused by recent snow will cost at least $3 million to repair, and required the state Department of Transportation to begin repair work immediately.
The proclamation also affects Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, San Juan, Skagit, Skamania, Thurston, Wahkiakum and Whatcom counties.
Seattle Times staff reporter Mike Lindblom and The Associated Press contributed to this story.