Kent unscathed by last week’s rains, but flood watch remains


  • BY Wire Service
  • Tuesday, November 11, 2008 11:21am
  • News

Except for two streets closed because of high water, the city of Kent escaped major damage from the heavy rain last week.

City officials closed James Street near Central Avenue from about 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. Friday. City workers also closed 76th Avenue South between South 212th Street and South 228th Street for most of Friday morning.

“Whenever we get over 1 to 2 inches of rain those areas flood,” said Larry Blanchard, city public works director, in a phone interview Monday.

The overflow of Mill Creek caused the flooding at James Street as well as 76th Avenue South, Blanchard said.

No businesses, homes or schools were impacted by the flooding, according to city reports.

City crews might have to put up signs and barricades to close the roads again this week because of flooding.

The National Weather Service on Monday issued a flood watch for Kent and most of Western Washington from Tuesday afternoon through late Wednesday night because of expected heavy rain.

A flood watch means residents should be aware of the potential for significant rainfall that could lead to flooding. Weather forecasters predicted a 90 to 100 percent chance of rain from Tuesday through Wednesday with as much as an inch of rain each day.

“We always sweat bullets a bit from mid-November to about mid-April,” Blanchard said.

Kent firefighters responded to two major calls Friday connected to the heavy rainfall, said Kyle Ohashi, public information officer for the Kent Fire Department.

Police and fire officials from Kent assisted with the response at about 8:40 a.m. Friday to the car driven by a 16-year-old girl that ended up in the Green River in Auburn. The girl escaped from the car before it sunk. Two boys, ages 13 and 2, remained missing as of Monday morning. Divers from the King County Sheriff’s Office were slated to remove the car from the river on Tuesday, according to a sheriff’s office media release. (Please turn to page 14 for the complete story.)

Kent firefighters rescued a man from the top of his car after the vehicle stalled in flood waters at 6 a.m. Friday in the 22000 block of 76th Avenue South. The man was not injured.

There was no increase in the overall number of calls to the fire department because of the heavy rain, Ohashi said.

Kent received 2.2 inches of rain on Thursday, according to the Weather Underground Web site at

“We had a few calls where our guys went out and pulled leaves out of a catch basin, but not too many,” Blanchard said.

The city puts two drainage crews on standby when forecasters predict heavy rain. The crews use a truck equipped with large hoses to suck leaves out of catch basins. Other crews monitor retention ponds to make sure the ponds are properly draining.

City officials also make sure during heavy rains that free sandbags are available for residents at the city maintenance shop at the corner of Russell Road and James Street.

Contact Steve Hunter at 253-872-6600, ext. 5052 or

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