A kayak just might be the best way to get around in the Snoqualmie Valley.
Major roads are flooded by water, wetlands and crop fields look more like lakes, and mudslides have tested the strength of valley roads. Endless rains over the past week triggered renewed flooding in the Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers, among others.
The King County Sheriff’s Office issued a warning from its emergency operations center to Carnation residents Thursday, Feb. 6. The center said Carnation could become “an island” due to road closures caused by flooding.
“The EOC is getting reports that only one road is available to get in and out between Fall City and Carnation. The flood warning center believes that by morning Carnation may be an island due to the cresting water,” said the city of Carnation on Twitter.
Local residents said it has been a decade since Carnation became an island due to flooding. The King County flood warning center issued a Phase 4 flood alert for areas of the Tolt River in Carnation and a Phase 3 flood alert for the Snoqualmie River throughout the valley.
The National Guard was stationed with crews and a high clearance vehicle in Carnation to assist with access to flooded areas. Eastside Fire and Rescue was also prepared to respond to flooding incidents with a rescue boat.
Duvall Fire 45 assisted Eastside Fire and the Sheriff’s Office with a water rescue at Northeast 138th Street and State Route 203 due to flooding from the Snoqualmie River. A truck was found in the water and the driver was originally missing, but ultimately found safe.
Major flooding occurred overnight Thursday and resulted in mudslides and road closures across Carnation, Duvall and unincorporated King County. The Riverview School District announced it was closed due to flooding Friday, Feb. 7.
Several mudslides tested valley roads during the relentless rainfall. One slide happened over David Powell Road near Fall City and another occurred on State Route 202 near Tolt Hill Road.
Novelty Hill Road narrowly escaped a mudslide on the roadway near West Snoqualmie Valley Road. The slide happened just below the road but caused concern about the potential for another one in the same area. Road crews cleared the area quickly and narrowed travel lanes from the slide edge.
All of the typical roads were covered with water over the weekend, including Snoqualmie Valley Road, Carnation Farm Road, Ames Lake Carnation Road, Tolt Hill Road, West Snoqualmie River Road and 124th Street.
Parts of Novelty Hill Road and SR 203 also had water on the roadway. Woodinville-Duvall Road stayed above water, creating a path for residents to commute to work despite the accumulation of traffic.
“River is running through the fields high and fast all around Duvall with many area roads flooded,” said the city of Duvall on Twitter. “We’re still expecting Woodinville-Duvall Road to stay high and dry above it all. Obey road closed signs and barricades.”
The Guard left the area Saturday, although county flood patrols continue to monitor conditions.
Water is beginning to recede in Carnation, where flooding has forced many residents to seek higher ground. Major flooding is still occurring in parts of the Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers, but water is expected to fall below flood level.
Many of the major roads in the Snoqualmie Valley were constructed in the nineteenth century and built adjacent to rivers, according to county road services. Geography and historical drainage patterns resulted in severe flooding long before these roads were constructed.
The county said trestle bridges can fix some of the road problems across the valley, although building these projects cost millions of dollars.