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Dungeness floods nearby residents

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by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette

Heavy rains led to rising waters in the Dungeness River early Sunday morning.

Water obstructed parts of Ward Road and West Hendrickson Road en route to flooding yards, driveways and garages.

Currents filled the parking lots at the Dungeness River Audubon Center and flowed through Ward Lane and Kitfox Lane.

Heather Catuzo, permit technician for Clallam County, said this is the most significant water obstruction on Ward Road that crews can recall.

“It’s an area of problem,” she said.

“We’ve done a lot of repairs over the years there.”

The Dungeness River has the second steepest fall in the U.S. for all rivers.

Catuzo said flooding obstructed about 1,000 feet of roads. Damages include heavily eroded roadways and soft road shoulders, but no homes were reported damaged.

Clallam County does not maintain private roads like Kitfox and Ward, so citizens must pay for damages themselves.

County crews believe the Dungeness River’s gauge readings weren’t giving them the realities of what they were seeing, Catuzo said.

“Our guess is that rain was coming in below the gauges,” she said.

As for future flooding incidents, Catuzo said there isn’t much crews can do.

“The river is the river. It’s a natural process. We’re not going to be able to control a river,” she said.

“As unfortunate as it might be, this is a great reminder for people to think about preparing for emergencies.”

Dungeness River Audubon Center

Bob Boekelheide, Audubon center director, said there don’t appear to be any major problems with Railroad Bridge Park and operations are normal.

“County road crews did a great job of using their loader and broom truck to take away debris and sandy mud,” Boekelheide said.

One long-term project he has targeted is removing large logs resting against west end trestles supporting the 600-feet long wooden walkway.

He’ll be working with Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe biologists on the project.

City issues
Inclement weather didn’t bring anything unusual, said Paul Haines, Sequim public works director.

Most work by city crews was standard with high water, he said, such as placing high water signs on Still Road, the intersections of Third Avenue and Maple Street, and Seventh Avenue and Washington Street. They watched the levels in Bell Creek but it held its height.

The Waste Water Reclamation Plant didn’t report any unusual flow either.

“In terms of reports we received, there was a lot of water but pretty routine,” Haines said.

If high water and flooding do become a problem, the city has sand and sandbags available through Public Works at 683-4908 during regular business hours or  9-1-1 after hours.  

Countywide
Port Angeles has had three-known landslides due to heavy rains, Catuzo said.

One significant slide keeps Crescent Beach Road closed because it came down a second time.

In west Clallam County, Forks and LaPush were hit hard.

Chris Cook, Forks Forum editor, said Russell Road, a main road in Forks, has closed until further notice due to a damaged culvert.

The Bogachiel River crested and went over roadways on Sunday.

In LaPush, state Route 110 closed temporarily before water receded later in the evening.

Waters have since receded in Sequim, Port Angeles and the West End as of Tuesday, Dec. 14. Rain is expected to continue for at least the next five days.

Clallam County Road Crews use sandbags for protecting government facilities and do not supply private residences unless it’s a life-threatening emergency.

To report county road issues, contact Clallam County Public Works at 417-2379.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

 

 

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