Eisenhower or Kennedy?
The Howard Hansen Dam, which regulates the flow of water in the Green River Valley, was damaged during January flooding. As a result, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it can’t use the structure built in 1962 to its full flood storage capacity – a potentially disastrous situation should severe flood conditions return in the winter.
The cities of Auburn, Kent and Tukwila could be anywhere from four to 10 feet underwater if storms are severe.
The flood-risk area is home to the King County Regional Justice Center; the King County data center, which houses the county’s information technology infrastructure; half the Metro bus routes in the southern portion of King County; and, nearby, the county’s animal control office.
Yes, you read that correctly: King County put a majority of their infrastructure in a flood zone. This was done at great expense during the administration of Ron “Tax to the Max” Sims. He could have put it at a multitude of other locations not in the zone for less money, but that is not how Sims rolled.
The Wife and I, when shopping for a place to put the things we considered important (aka: Firebase Blue and everything within it) made it a point to make sure we were a minimum of 200ft above the flood zone (final location: 525ft above).
Pam Bissonnette, assistant county executive, explained that ideally dams are tied to bedrock on both sides. But one side of the Howard Hanson Dam was built alongside unstable land. That unstable land is now compromising the integrity of the dam, she said. While Bissonnette stressed there was no danger of the dam breaking at this point, she said the structure won’t work like its supposed to in heavy rains. The dam, owned and operated by the Corps of Engineers, would have to release water – perhaps a lot of it – during bad storms. But the levy system downstream is not designed to handle the extra water.
“The levies themselves are old and need of repair,” Bissonnette said.
The Corps of Engineers has been injecting grout into the part of the dam that is near the unstable land as a way to help, Bissonnette said, but a permanent fix is up to five years away.
We’ve been having winters with record snowfalls here in the PacNW, and this winter is not looking any more kind.
So please excuse me while I attempt to stifle back my laughter for having decided to buy a house in Pierce County.
My only regret is that one of the major burgs not included in the above list of towns within the flood zone is a place called Seattle. You may have heard of it. I happen to work there, along what is called the Duwamish Waterway.
The valley that contains Auburn, Kent and Tukwila leads directly to Lake Washington and the Duwamish Waterway. Google Terrain map Auburn, WA and start scrolling the map north. The ensuing flood will sweep North and East into Renton and flow directly into the lake, or split off and flow North and West to the Port of Seattle.
Safeco Field and Quest Field could be quite wet rather quickly if the 4-10ft projections are true.
And remember, it will all be Bush’s fault because they discovered the problem in November of last year.