NEWS: Seattle Prepares for Heavy Rain, Flooding

    For Immediate Release:  

  Dec 10,  2010                                                           

Contact: Ingrid Goodwin, (206) 233-3864
Pager: (206) 997-597

Seattle Prepares for Heavy Rain, Flooding

Extra City Drainage Crews Placed on Alert in Anticipation of Severe Winter Storm

 SEATTLE — With torrential rain in the forecast for the next several days, Seattle Public Utilties (SPU) is putting its field crews on alert and urging the public to prepare for urban flooding.

 Based on National Weather Service reports, Seattle could be in for one to three inches of rain between late Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, with another storm coming on Monday. The heaviest rain is expected to occur south of the ship canal.

 To report flooding or blocked drains or heavy ponding in the street, please call (206) 386-1800.

 In preparation for the storm, SPU has assigned extra field operations workers to report to work Saturday and Sunday, and has staged flood control equipment at various locations around the city. The Utility is also delivering about 500 pre-packed sandbags to the Meadowbrook and Delridge Community Center (250 at each), today.

 SPU is reminding the public to play it safe by staying out of low-lying areas during times of heavy rains. If your basement is prone to flooding, please stay out of the basement until the risk of flooding has passed.

 The public’s help is also requested in keeping Seattle’s 78,000 street drains — the city’s first line of defense against storms — free of debris. Cleaning a blocked street drain is simple: using a rake, just scrape the debris from the drain and place it in your yard waste cart.

 If you don’t have a rake or other drain-cleaning implements, consider joining SPU’s new Adopt-a-drain program. Contact the program at (206) 684-7647 or email Program participants will be provided with free gloves, bags, brooms, rakes and safety vests, as well as help with leaf disposal.

 Other tips for keeping yourself and your property safe during wet weather include:

  • Don’t put grass clippings, leaves or other debris into drains, ditches, creeks, culverts, gutters or ravines (it’s against the law). If you live at the base of a hill or on a cliff, ensure that drainage and retaining walls are in good shape. Preventative planting can also help reduce the chance of a mud slide or flooding.
  • Maintain gutters and downspouts. Twice a year, clean your gutters and the drainage downspouts attached to your roof. Direct flows from downspouts away from your home, without discharging flows to adjacent properties.
  • Review your insurance coverage regularly with your agent to identify needs and gaps. Make sure you have the appropriate policies for flood or endorsements for losses like back-up of sewers and drains, which are not covered in a standard homeowner’s policy.
  • Store heirlooms and priceless family photographs on upper floors where they will be safer from flood waters. Items stored in basement areas should be shelved, and furniture should be on casters or shims away from floor drains.

For a wealth of information on preparing for bad weather, visit

 Learn more about Seattle Public Utilities, at:

In addition to providing a reliable water supply to more than 1.3 million customers in the Seattle metropolitan area,  SPU provides essential sewer, drainage, solid waste and engineering services that safeguard public health, maintain the City’s infrastructure and protect, conserve and enhance the region’s environmental resources.

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