Relentless downpour shuts down city roads, stalls cars in Bellevue

The “Pineapple Express” rain event is causing problems for drivers all over Western Washington, including crashes and stalled vehicles.

WSDOT says it’s been a challenging day with many accidents, while urban flooding is shutting down roads.

The City of Bellevue had three full road closures all day on Tuesday, though KIRO 7 cameras saw many people ignoring the signs and driving through the flooded streets.

“I’m seeing every single one of these people ruining their transmission,” said Dirk Happee, owner of Dick’s Restaurant Supply. While 140th Avenue Northeast to his store is still open, the south entrance to his store on Northeast 21st Street is closed, along with a chunk of the flooded road.

“That’s about a foot (of water),” Happee said, pointing to a section of his lot.

The City of Bellevue transportation department is urging drivers to listen to the road closed signs for their own safety.

Another seriously flooded road was Southeast 7th Place off of Lake Hills Connector in the Wilburton neighborhood.

A couple’s car stalled out when they were trying to cross the road, which was basically a pond. Driver Jupinder Gill said it happened in the dark around 6:30 a.m., before the city had put up any road closed signs.

Gill said she was following another driver in a van when she ran into trouble.

“The van stopped right there and because the van stopped, I had to stop. And that’s when my car stopped working. But the van was able to pull through because it was higher. Whereas my car… yeah,” Gill said.

She says she called 911 to notify the city that signs needed to be put up to warn others.

Then she called loved ones to help get her out of the water.

“The three of them pushed me out. If you say you get fed up with your family, no – they’re the ones who come to rescue you, nobody else,” Gill said.

As of early Tuesday afternoon, she was still waiting for a tow – before facing a pricy fix.

“It might cost a couple of thousand dollars,” Gill said.

The City of Bellevue says that crews worked to clear out all storm drains ahead of the weather system to try and minimize any flooding.