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North End picks up the pieces after the storm

As the waters recede, the rain ceases and reports for unusual weather abate, North Kitsap communities are assessing the damage and feeling relieved it wasn’t as bad as other parts of the county. All things considered, the Kingston area as well as Hansville, Port Gamble, Indianola and Suquamish faired well compared to the massive flooding and mudslides in other communities.

Not all areas scraped by unscathed, however, as the Kitsap County Web site reported Indianola Road was still closed Friday. Preliminary assessments were started, but a determination when the road would reopen was not available. It was reported Indianola Road, at Orca Drive and Beachwood Avenue, suffered damage to the road surface during the storm.

“Well, it’s still closed,” said Indianola Beach Improvement Committee President Duane Niemi Tuesday. “I just came through there now, and you have to take a couple of detours to get to downtown Indianola. There was some damage in Indianola, well, everyone seems to be coping. We’ve had a few leaky roofs, but nothing serious.”

He said during the storm, the water levels were hard to believe, especially during high tide midday. He said he’s lived in the area three years, and talked with longtime residents, and no one has seen flooding this bad before.

“It was crazy, the rain, I haven’t seen an accurate rain count for North Kitsap,” said North Kitsap Fire & Rescue Public Information Officer Michele Laboda. “We knew we’d be busy, so we opened a remote command center, which, of course, all fire departments did... We brought in extra people. From 10 a.m. to 3 or 3:30 p.m. we were running and all units were busy. It was mostly investigating flooding calls from homeowners and water over the road.”

She said NKF&R was ready to have a few different neighborhoods evacuate because water was rising over the roads and could have cut off access. In the end, after high tide receded in the afternoon, she said it wasn’t necessary. There also wasn’t any major property damage, no trees over the road or on buildings and no mudslides that damaged structures or harmed people, Laboda said.

Poulsbo Fire Department officials said there were about 50 calls received Monday, though mostly for similar concerns from residents. PFD Public Information Officer Jody Matson said the department averages 12 calls a day. Poulsbo was hit harder by the stormy weather, and the city of Poulsbo declared a state of emergency, following the county’s example.

“We just had a lot of rain,” said Port Gamble Manager Shana Smith. “One tree broke off and took out part of a fence, but from a water standpoint, it was just the post office and the fire hall that were the worst.”

She said in the 1800s, the land the post office and fire hall buildings now occupy was a lake, so the area flooded easier than other portions of Port Gamble. The water submerged the boiler in the post office building, but there didn’t seem to be serious damage. Smith said she won’t know whether this initial assessment will hold true until crews can get under the structure and inspect the foundation.

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