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(Some) Floodwaters recede, snowpack disappears, skiers mourn

      
judyfaaberg's picture
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Greetings fellow travelers! I don't even mean that ironically! 'Cause I-5 and Snoqualmie Pass (aka I-90) re-opened today, days ahead of projections. A lot of truckers breathed a sigh of relief, as did the hapless motorists stuck behind them inhaling their diesel fumes.

The rain ceased, some rivers began to recede and evidently avalanche danger did too. The ski areas watched in sad disbelief as over two feet of recent snowfall evaporated, or rather ran away, literally. Skiers and snowboarders are nearly inconsolable.

There are still spots under eight or more feet of water, but the expected disaster on I-5 didn't materialize (unlike in 2007, when parts of it were under ten feet of water for several days). There is one river fixing to set a new record: the Tolt is (or was) supposed to crest at its highest level in recorded history. The Tolt provides drinking water for about 1.3 million people in King County (home of Seattle), flowing through the farming community of Carnation. Right now it's flowing OVER the farming community of Carnation.

Another big flood plain is the Snohomish River Valley, just north and east of where I live. People who live there estimate there are eight to ten feet of water over lower Snohimish, a charming little riverside town sporting over a hundred antiques shops, and nearly the same number of taverns (okay, slight exaggeration). Oh, and mas soccer fields, so my ex-husband, the soccer junkie, is among the mourners

Anyone who's ever lived in flood country knows how insane it is to try to drive through flowing water. You have no sense of where the road might dip (or even where it IS), nor where or when the water will certainly overcome your vehicle and float it away, with you in it.

About ten or so years ago, I was out with my daughter Bonnijo, my sister Nancy and her husband Gordy in his nifty little 4x4 Toyota truck, headed to Snohomish to kill, truss and haul home a Christmas tree. We found that the Snohomish River was at flood stage much higher than we'd expected and the road we were on was winding downhill right into the middle of a huge, new lake. Gordy was convinced he could plow through it. Observing that the four-foot-high fence that ran alongside the road rather quickly vanished under water, we three women started unbuckling our seatbelts and scrambling for the doors. At literally the last moment, the front wheels of the truck already half underwater, Gordy reluctantly threw the truck into reverse and jammed back up the hill to where he could turn around.

Knowing Gordy as well as I do now, I'm still at least half convinced he'd have tried it if we hadn't protested so loudly and physically. We did get the tree, though, by driving about twenty miles out of our way.

All of which is to say, while Gordy may or may not have learned a lesson, there are plenty of yahoos who definitely have not. Be watching your television news for hilarious shots of people in vehicles helplessly spinning around in the water while brave souls in rowboats try to rescue them from their own idiocy. It's an annual ritual in these parts. A rite of passage, you might say.

8 ft

Shoo-wee, that is some serious water. We are pretty lucky in this part of Virginia to have very few of Mother Nature's outbursts to deal with. A major snowstorm every few years is about it. Knock on wood.

judyfaaberg's picture

coal ash

Where was that huge coal-ash dump? Kentucky? Tennessee?

Judy Faaberg, DP, CCP

Yes, there is the man-made trouble in these parts

You're not going to want to dip your toes in the Shenandoah River any time soon.