You Can Now Get Flood Alerts By Phone/Text/Email
King County announced Friday (Nov. 13th) a brand new automated “flood alert” system that will provide real-time messages by phone, text or email warning of potential flooding on more than a half-dozen local rivers.
The new service is free, and to sign up, just visit www.kingcounty.gov/flood, or call 206-263-3400 to register by phone.
According to a press release:
The potential for flooding this winter is an especially important issue for the highly developed Green River Valley, which has been protected from serious flooding since the early 1960s by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Howard Hanson Dam. Damage to the dam’s right abutment during heavy storms last winter has led to restrictions on how much floodwater the dam can store and increases the risk of flooding in communities downstream of the dam.
“The new flood alert system can be tailored to an individual’s precise needs, allowing anyone to sign up for flood alerts for a specific river or multiple rivers, for a specific flood phase level, and for the alerts to come via phone, text message or e-mail,” said Steve Bleifuhs, manager of the county’s River and Floodplain Management group.
The automated alerts are one of many ways for residents to help protect the home, family, or business during a flood.
The real-time information service is the latest in a series of resources King County has been providing to residents to improve public safety and help citizens prepare for potential flooding. Links to additional resources are available at http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/waterandland/flooding.aspx.
“In an emergency, no one system is foolproof, and it is important for residents to check multiple sources for information – such as radio, television and the Web,” Bleifuhs said.
King County is also providing sandbag information online so residents and business owners can easily find details on locations where limited sandbags resources are available to the public before and during flood events.
Visit www.kingcounty.gov/floodplans/ and click on “sandbag distribution locations.” Sandbags are available through a partnership between King County and cities in flood-prone areas.
When wet weather raises river levels to flood conditions, the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks opens the Flood Warning Center to provide round-the-clock coordination of weather and river flooding information and answer questions for the public. Flood Warning Center operations are funded by the King County Flood Control District.
The center, which has been in operation for more than four decades, is designed to give citizens at least two hours warning to prepare for possible flooding. It works in tandem with the county’s Road Services Division, to give citizens up-to-date information about road closures.
The Flood Warning Center provides a continuously updated phone message (206-296-8200 or 1-800-945-9263) that describes conditions on King County’s major rivers. During a flood residents can speak directly to staff in the Flood Warning Center by calling 206-296-4535 or 1-800-768-7932.
The center sends out flood patrol teams to inspect levees and to check recent repairs to flood protection projects, reported trouble spots, or problems called in by citizens.
King County provides funding for the U.S. Geological Service river monitoring system. Real time river flow and flood phase data is available to anyone who logs onto the Department’s Web site at www.kingcounty.gov/flood.
Flood Warning Center operation is based on a four-phase warning system with Phase Four being the most serious and potentially dangerous to people and property. Phases are issued independently for each of the county’s major rivers – the Snoqualmie, Tolt, Cedar, Green and White rivers. A four-phase warning system is also established for Issaquah Creek.
The Flood Warning Center works with the National Weather Service to obtain forecast information used by the weather service to make flood predictions.
The center also works with the King County Roads Services Division, which deploys crews to post road closures as water covers roadways. Road crews are also used to construct emergency repairs to flood protection facilities when high water threatens their viability.
The center coordinates with the City of Seattle and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operate dams on county rivers, and with the King County Regional Communications and Emergency Coordination Center during major flooding conditions. The Flood Warning Center is an important element of King County’s Floodplain Management Program and its Flood Hazard Management Plan.