Weather experts predict a third consecutive La Nina winter storm pattern with likely wetter-than-normal conditions this flood season, and King County Executive Dow Constantine and King County Flood District Chair Dave Upthegrove are encouraging flood preparedness.
“Climate change is already increasing our odds of seeing more frequent and more intense flooding, and a third La Nina weather pattern only adds more certainty to predictions of an active flood season,” Executive Constantine said. “I urge everyone who lives, works, or travels through flood-prone areas to take steps now to be prepared.”
Last year’s La Nina weather pattern and atmospheric rivers resulted in eight moderate and minor flood events in King County, including a rare flood event in June 2022.
“Flooding is our most frequent natural disaster and finding ways to reduce the risk of flood damage to people and property is something we work on throughout the year,” said Flood District Chair Upthegrove. “One example is the Lower Russell Levee Setback Project that will be completed this year in Kent. The project replaces an old, degraded levee with a new setback levee creating more space for flood water and reduces the risk of flooding to homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure in the lower Green River Valley.”
The project also improves salmon habitat on the Green River by creating more shallow, slow water habitat and improves Van Doren’s Park in Kent for recreation.
Through funding provided by the King County Flood Control District, King County developed KC Flood Alerts – a free, automated system offering subscribers access to alerts of potential flooding for seven King County rivers and Issaquah Creek.
Sign up for KC Flood Alerts at kingcounty.gov/flood, where you can also find information on real-time river levels, road conditions, and weather reports during flood events.
King County also issues flood-related notifications and other emergency information via ALERT King County, a regional emergency information and notification system. Learn more at kingcounty.gov/alert.
Beginning this year, people can also sign up for information on flood conditions through the Keeping King County Green blog at kingcountygreen.com. The blog will share real time updates on flood conditions, photos, and video from staff in the field.
According to the county, Important steps to take before flooding occurs include:
– Learning about flood risks where you live, work, go to school or commute enter an address at kingcounty.gov/floodmap.
– Buying flood insurance. It takes 30 days for a policy to take effect, and standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. Contact your insurance agent or visit floodsmart.gov.
– Avoiding flood damage by storing important documents, valuables, and electronics high up, and by moving vehicles and equipment to high ground before flood waters rise.
– Building an emergency kit. Preparedness for those living in flood-prone areas includes assembling a basic emergency kit for the home, with items such as a flashlight with spare batteries, a portable radio, non-perishable food, drinking water, medical necessities, and any necessary items for children or pets.
– Moving hazardous chemicals, such as lawn and gardening herbicides, out of flood prone areas or disposing at one of the county’s household hazardous waste sites to help reduce harmful contaminants in flood waters. Learn more at kingcounty.gov/hazwaste.
– Clearing storm drains and gutters of fallen leaves to prevent flooding and protect streams.