UPDATE, 4 p.m., Nov. 19: All lanes of Totem Lake Boulevard between 120th Avenue NE and NE 124th Street will be closed Monday evening due to flooding, and the City of Kirkland is asking drivers to avoid the area and use caution on the roadways. The stretch of the boulevard being closed is in an area of persistent flooding during heavy rain in recent years of the stream that flows out of Totem Lake itself. Here is an advisory issued Monday afternoon by the city:
All lanes of Totem Lake Boulevard from south of 120th Avenue NE to north of NE 124th Street are being closed due to water over the roadway. City crews are on site to set up barricades and to clear standing water from the roadway. Drivers are encouraged to use caution on the road and asked to avoid Totem Lake Boulevard during their afternoon commute. Detour signs are on display and drivers in the area are asked to follow them.
UPDATE, noon, Nov. 19: City of Kirkland crews are working to deal with localized flooding due to heavy rain in four areas, and have closed one lane of Totem Lake Boulevard. Motorists are being encouraged to avoid those areas. Below is an advisory from the city:
The southbound lanes of Totem Lake Boulevard from south of 120th Avenue NE to north of NE 124th Street are closed due to water over the roadway. Southbound traffic is being routed into the center lane. City crews are responding to other areas experiencing flooding including Billy Creek, the Plaza at Yarrow Bay, the intersection of 120th Avenue NE and NE 109th Street, and a slide reported across from 405 Lake Street. Drivers are encouraged to use caution on the roads and to avoid the troubled areas listed above.
Monday morning’s heavy rain sent City of Kirkland Public Works Department crews scrambling to deal with minor flooding issues and it is asking for the public’s help in keeping drains clear or rain and other debris.
“Certainly we can use some assistance,” said John Hopfauf, manager of the Publics Works Department’s Streets Division. “There are just so many storm drain basins we can’t get to all of them.”
Many minor local flooding incidents are caused by clogged storm drains, particularly in the fall when the ground and sides of roads are covered in leaves.
“This rain kind of sweeps the leaves to the drain,” Hopfauf aid. “With this kind of rain and so many leaves, it’s a never-ending battle.”
The city’s Storm and Surface Water Division crews called for assistance from other Public Works crews, and did address at least two minor flooding issues. Hopfauf was not sure where, and the stormwater crew manager was busy and unavailable early Monday morning.
Those crews will likely remain busy at least through Tuesday. The National Weather Service forecast for Kirkland calls for heavy rain at times through Monday, a 100 percent chance of rain Monday night, and an 80- percent chance of rain Tuesday. Winds will range from 7 to 15 mph.
For tips on dealing with surface water issues, see the city’s web pages here. To report a problem to the Storm and Surface Water Division, call 425-587-3800, or report it on line here.
For more tips on dealing with heavy rain and potential flooding, see this checklist on the web pages of Take Winter by Storm, a group formed by public and private utilities of Western Washington.
Of course, rain is part of the culture of Western Washington, it shapes our geography, enables the growth of our huge forests and affects outdoor recreation. So we love talking about it, and perhaps few do that as well as University of Washington meteorologist Cliff Mass. Check out his latest blog posts about the current storm system blowing through Washington here and here.
Are you seeing any flooding issues in your neighborhood? Please tell us about it in the comments box below.