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Flooding follows snowfall in North End

North Kitsap was feeling the brunt of the winter storm that thrashed the Puget Sound area beginning Saturday. First plagued by snow and icy roads, the weather shifted gears Monday morning into rain, causing many areas to experience flooding and road closures.

POULSBO VICINITY

The picturesque winter wonderland of white that descended on Little Norway this weekend was washed away by heavy rains by early Monday morning, leaving excessive flooding, road closures, diluted sewage backups and basements filled with water all over town.

In response, the city partially activated its Emergency Operations Center at 8 a.m. Monday, and then expanded to full activation at 10:30 a.m. Following the lead of the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management, the city declared a state of emergency due to the unusual weather conditions. Reported road closures Monday included Viking Avenue north of Finn Hill Road and south of State Route 305, 7th Avenue from Iverson Way to Liberty Road, the intersection at 6th Avenue and Fjord Drive and Noll Road at Tallagson, east of Mesford. All were open Tuesday.

The intersection of State Route 305 and Liberty Road, as well as much of 10th Avenue, the intersection of Lincoln Road and 8th Avenue and the Poulsbo Village Parking lot were covered in several inches of water. In many places, water reached the wheel wells of cars, as many of the city’s creeks, including Dogfish, continued to rise.

Poulsbo’s Public Works department was using sandbags in some areas Monday afternoon to help control the water on roadways. Several Poulsbo Village businesses closed, as the parking lot and some stores were turned into wading pools.

Storm drains around Poulsbo were also filled to capacity with stormwater, leaving much of the day’s steady rain in streams along roadways and standing puddles in low areas, in some places flooding buildings or submersing cars in water. Two cars parked behind Albertsons, along 7th Avenue, were totally or nearly submerged by early afternoon Monday.

Nearby Poulsbo Athletic Club employee Callie Lofton said the rising water had been causing troubles for those trying to drive in or out of the 7th Avenue area.

“A good two feet,” she said of the water’s rising just over the morning hours.

An Olhava development mudslide was also reported.

The city said sewer pump stations were operating at full capacity, but highly diluted sewage may have mixed with overflowing stormwater. In a statement Tuesday morning, the city said staff members are assessing the local flooding sites and drainage areas and precautions against public exposure to untreated sewage are being taken. Topographic maps were also used to determine where flood waters would go. The drinking water supply was not affected.

Poulsbo councilwoman-elect Becky Erickson, who was out surveying the damage Monday afternoon, said the rain storm is the perfect example of the city’s need for comprehensive sewer and stormwater planning, especially as Noll Road improvements are approached. She also said Public Works crews were out in full force addressing each and every situation possible.

“Public Works is out doing their thing and they’re doing a really good job,” she said. “It’s to the credit of Public Works that everything is going as well as it is.”

The city is still holding incidents affecting life safety or public health at the highest priority. Those who were out in flooded areas should wash their hands and clothes. The city also recommends avoiding areas with potential diluted sewage.

NORTH END

The North End fared a little better than its southern neighbors, with only a few roads underwater Monday afternoon. Kingston wasn’t showing too many flooded streets, though the slough was far above its normal levels at high tide. Port of Kingston Manager Mike Bookey said the downtown area was only wet, not flooded, and the roads were clear.

“No, fortunately because we’re close to the water, it all drains into the bay,” he said Monday. “Yesterday the power was on and off. We’ve had almost four inches of rain since 8 in the morning yesterday, half an inch since this morning.”

Because Kingston has enough hills the water flows into Apple Tree Cove, the Kingston Marina and other bodies of water, he said.

Port of Kingston Commissioner Pete DeBoer said he drove to Port Gamble Monday morning, and the roads were clear the entire way, if a little damp.

“This ain’t Key West,” he said. “I just drove from Port Gamble and back, and it’s pretty normal. It’s just rain, rain, rain. The weekend was interesting.”

Though the North End didn’t get as much snow as Poulsbo, Silverdale or the southern parts of Kitsap County, the melted snow was contributing to higher water levels. Hansville resident and Greater Hansville Area Advisory Council member Fred Nelson said several roads in Hansville were under a few inches of water Monday.

“At high tide, Hansville Road by the (Hansville Store) and post office was under several inches of water,” he said. “Point No Point Road by the lighthouse was covered in water. Yards are flooded… Twin Spits Road has several inches of water. The Norwegian Point Park parking lot is completely flooded. It’s just wet out here.”

Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe Associate Director Laurie Mattson said there weren’t any major problems within Little Boston, but the tribe was monitoring the storm and if any roadways were becoming dangerous to navigate.

“We’re keeping a kind of, just maintaining an awareness,” she said. “There’s lots of water everywhere, but no major problems. We put sandbags around the new library, and that’s about it.”

She did say that 288th Street was flooded, and it was among those roads with water over them. Indianola Road was also closed through Tuesday morning due to flooding on the roadway, according to the Kitsap County Web site. The Washington State Department of Transportation reported the Hood Canal Bridge was closed due to weather from roughly 4-4:45 p.m. before it was opened to vehicle traffic.

SCHOOLS

North Kitsap High School Principal Kathy Prasch was greeted with unexpected circumstances when she arrived at school Monday morning. One of the school’s lower-lying buildings was flooded, requiring some impromptu action and teamwork. The flooded building housed mainly the Freshman Academy and some art classes.

Students were moved to the common area, and, as empty classrooms were found, the students were sent to them for instruction. All students were told to report to their first period class, where they stayed until the end of the third period.

In response to the adverse weather conditions, the North Kitsap School District cancelled after school activities on Monday and released children from school at 2 p.m. As flooding became more prevalent throughout North Kitsap, the district began encouraging parents to pick children up from school shortly after 1 p.m.

The discussion of whether students should be sent home was held early on.

Prasch explained the logic that kept the students in school until early afternoon.

“We figured it would be just as puddly and wet at 2:30, but parents will be expecting their students home then,” she said.

While the flooding at North Kitsap High School was the most disruptive, the district also fought the water on other sites along NE Hostmark Street.

The Parent Assisted Learning center, which provides services to the homeschooled, was closed on Monday.

In addition, sandbags had to be set in the gym at Poulsbo Middle School and the North Kitsap Community Pool had to be closed because of flooding.

At 5:40 a.m. Tuesday, classes and all after-school activities were cancelled in the district. The decision was made with the student’s safety in mind, said Chris Case, NKSD’s director of Communications and Community Relations.

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