Kent Patton Emergency Management
Flooding along local rivers causes road closures, property damage, and increased demands on emergency resources
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash., December 7, 2023 – Flooding along multiple rivers has caused a state of emergency in Snohomish County, with ongoing impacts to roads and transportation, emergency services, and private and public properties. In response, Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers issued an emergency proclamation Wednesday evening, December 6, 2023.
“Many families, businesses, and communities have been impacted by the floods this week and more rain continues to fall,” said Executive Somers. “Therefore, I’ve declared an emergency to ensure we have every tool available to us. For cities and other agencies who have responded to the flooding, please know that we will be there to assist in any way we can. We’ll get through this together.”
The county received significant rainfall Monday and Tuesday, driving up water levels in local rivers. Major flooding along the Stillaguamish River reached record levels at Arlington, exceeding 21 feet. Moderate flooding occurred along the Snohomish and Skykomish rivers. The rains also increased landslide risk on steep, soggy slopes.
Though river levels were receding Wednesday and are not forecast to hit flood stage again, the National Weather Service is forecasting a strong potential for additional rain and mountain snow heading into the weekend. The County will continue to work alongside partners in cities, schools, and emergency services to monitor the situation and provide information and resources as needed.
People living in flood-prone areas should remain ready to evacuate their homes, and if advised to leave, do so immediately. Evacuation is simpler and safer before flood waters cover roads and limit travel options. Drivers are also encouraged to stay clear of flooded roads. As little as 6 inches of moving water is deep enough to topple an adult or to reach the bottom of most passenger cars. A foot of water will float many vehicles, and two feet of rushing water has the force to sweep away vehicles, including sport utility vehicles and pick-up trucks.
"Our partners across the county have had a busy few days, with over a dozen water rescues so far and roads and utilities crews working around the clock,” said Lucia Schmit, director of the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management. “This declaration will help get those agencies the resources they need to continue to keep our residents safe.”
The widespread flooding has caused dangerous road conditions which impact emergency response, including potential delayed response due to impassable roads and additional resource needs for water rescue.
The emergency proclamation allows the County to spend public funds to take reasonable and prudent measures ensuring the safety of residents and waives some administrative requirements in order to expedite response efforts. It directs county departments to take actions to mitigate and prevent impacts upon private property and publicly owned infrastructure.
The full proclamation is attached.