M’ville, Arlington see only minor impacts from flood

The Haller and Twin Rivers parks were both closed at 11 a.m. on Nov. 12, due to the rising water levels of the Stillaguamish River near Arlington.  - Photo courtesy of Chris Jones
The Haller and Twin Rivers parks were both closed at 11 a.m. on Nov. 12, due to the rising water levels of the Stillaguamish River near Arlington.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Chris Jones

ARLINGTON — While forecasts of heavy rains and major flooding proved true throughout much of Snohomish County Nov. 12, the Arlington and Marysville communities found themselves facing a flood that thankfully failed to live up to most of its expectations.

Christine Badger serves as the Arlington community emergency management coordinator for the city of Arlington, the Arlington School District and the Cascade Valley Hospital and Clinics. According to her, the Arlington area wasn’t hit nearly as hard by flooding as the southern areas of Snohomish County.

“We closed Haller Park, and Twin Rivers Park at the Lincoln Bridge, at

11 a.m. [on Nov. 12] as a precaution,” Badger said. “But the Stillaguamish River crested at 16.3 feet at 12:30 p.m. that same day.”

While this river level was more than enough to put it into “Phase 2” in the Snohomish County flood warning system, it never rose to a predicted second crest of 19.62 feet at 10 p.m. on Nov. 12, which would have put it into “Phase 3.” As such, the flooding of the Stillaguamish River near Arlington spared all but the lowlands along the river channel.

“There weren’t any incidents,” Badger said. “We’ve had a lot of people out looking, but none of the residents of our jurisdiction have called in to report any damage.”

Badger praised city of Arlington street workers for diligently keeping storm drains clear of debris, to accommodate the runoff and maintain the water flow.

“We had a thousand sandbags on standby, but nobody needed them,” Badger said.

Forecasts of heavier flooding in the Arlington area were based on expectations that a second storm front would hit the base of the Cascade Mountains and stay there, which would have resulted in the river level rising to 19 feet.

“From 4-7 a.m. [on Nov. 12], the river level rose really rapidly when the first front hit,” Badger said. “But that projected second front never hit.”

Thanks to this latest experience, Badger explained that 15 feet has now been determined to be the level at which the parks will be closed, since that had been an open question before.

Among the community members whom she credited with helping things “run smoothly” during the flood warning, Badger singled out the Seventh-Day Adventist Church of Arlington for running flood information on their reader board, so that motorists on Highway 530 could be kept in the loop.

Just south of Arlington, city of Marysville Community Information Officer Doug Buell estimated that the Marysville community was no more impacted by the flooding than that of Arlington, although he did acknowledge that flooding caused the scheduled Nov. 15 grand opening for the “Strawberry Fields for Rover” off-leash dog park to be postponed to Dec. 6.

A site visit by city of Marysville Parks and Recreation staff determined that water levels rose as much as eight inches in the Quilceda Creek corridor, making the trail system to the off-leash park impassible, according to Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ballew. He promised that repairs will be made when the entire trail corridor can be accessed, and added that the off-leash park itself has not been impacted by flooding.

Buell added that Jennings Memorial Park was also closed due to flooding, and while those waters began receding Nov. 14, he anticipated the park wouldn’t be reopened until Nov. 19.

“The water levels of Allen Creek and the Kiwanis Pond rose to the level of the bridge,” Buell said. “This is nothing new, and our infrastructure has been fortified to handle it, but it did disconnect the east and west sides of the park.”

The closest the city of Marysville came to incurring significant flood damage was at Ebey Waterfront Park, where a logjam bumped against the docks, but Buell noted that repairs were both begun and completed Nov. 14.

The Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management closed its Emergency Operations Center at noon Nov. 13, after opening the EOM on the morning of Nov. 12. Flood watches for all Snohomish County river systems were lifted late in the evening of Nov. 12.

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