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Stormy Mondays cause floods and power outages across area

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By Dennis Box-The Courier-Herald

November rode in on a five-day rainstorm beginning Nov. 2 and greeted the area with more than seven inches of rain along with flooding in the valley.

The National Weather Service dubbed the storm the “Pineapple Express” because it began in Hawaii.

The Bonney Lake and Lake Tapps region escaped major flood damage although Fennel Creek was swollen over its banks and there was water across the road on Sumner-Buckley Highway east of Target.

The folks in the valley below the Plateau around Sumner, Orting and Puyallup were not as fortunate. Flooding started in Orting where the Carbon and Puyallup rivers join.

Nov. 6, the skies opened and dumped a recording-setting 3.29 inches of rain at Sea-Tac International Airport, according to the National Weather Service.

After the drenching, residents woke Nov. 7, Election Day, to State Route 410 being closed from Valley Avenue to Traffic Avenue in Sumner. Areas of Orting and Sumner were flooded and evacuations were taking place.

Bonney Lake Public Works Director Dan Grigsby worked in the emergency command and control center in Sumner and staff from Pubic Works and the Community Services Department went to Sumner and Orting to assist in sandbagging efforts and flood control.

“Dan and his staff were down there Tuesday at 5 in the morning,” Mayor Neil Johnson said. “This is a good way for our communities to work together.”

SR 410 became a traffic nightmare Tuesday morning with traffic backed up Elhi Hill to Myers Road East.

According to Grigsby, the Carbon River reached flood stage at Orting the morning of Nov. 7 and broke through the levee in several spots. The Village Green development was evacuated near the High Cedars Golf Course and water covered Highway 162 in spots.

By Wednesday morning SR 410 was open, but the damage in the valley was still present.

The pattern of rain and wind continued through Monday morning with rain and wind gust knocking down power lines across the Plateau. East Pierce Fire and Rescue reported 20 emergency calls from midnight to 8 a.m.

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

€ The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department posted warnings concerning health hazards associated with contaminated drinking water, mold and mildew as a results of the flooding.

Drinking Water and Flooded Wells

€ Anyone using water from a well in a flooded area should disinfect the water by heating it to a rolling boil for three to five minutes before drinking. Otherwise, bottled drinking water should be purchased.

€ Once the flooding has receded, chlorination and flushing of the well is recommended.

Mold and Mildew

€ Excessive mold growth can occur as a result of leaking roofs and flooded basements. This can create a health hazard, particularly for people with existing breathing problems such as asthma or those with allergies. If you see water or suspect a leak in your home, first try to find the leak and take action to stop or minimize it. Next, take steps to remove any standing water or water-damaged items that cannot be easily dried.

€ Any water-damaged dry wall and insulation should also be removed and discarded as a precaution against future mold growth. Wet carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours of becoming wet to prevent mold growth.

€ Sewage contaminated carpet or carpet that has been wet for more than 48 hours is generally not salvageable and should be removed and discarded.

€ Ventilation of flooded basements, by opening windows and using exhaust fans, will serve to speed up the drying process and improve overall air quality. Use of heaters with fans and dehumidifiers will also help things dry sooner.

€ Clean-up and removal of mold from hard surfaces such as concrete or wood can be accomplished by scrubbing with laundry or dishwasher detergent or use of a diluted bleach water solution (1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water).

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