Urban flooding possible as rain returns, thaw underway

Local transportation officials are bracing for the possibility of urban flooding over the next few days due to the incoming rain and warmer temperatures causing snow and ice to melt.

Many people around Puget Sound are hoping for a clean slate and a clearer state with the snow moving out.

Now that the rain is here, road officials expect it will take some pressure off their plows.

“Looks like we’ll get some rain to help us out and that will probably make the ice go away pretty quickly,” said Jim Parker, road maintenance director of Snohomish County Public Works.

Parker said they now are shifting their concerns from solely snow and ice to the potential of urban flooding and pooling of water.

“That means there’s going to be a lot of snowmelt, clogged drains, culverts, and so forth and that’s going to be a different kind of problem we’ll be dealing with well into next week,” Parker said.

And with flooded roads, drivers said it is not so much of what you see but what you don’t see, that worries them.

“Not only is there standing water, but you don’t know kind of what’s under the standing water. Or you might make it partway through but then you get to the other side, but there’s ice,” said Todd Goldschmidt, who lives near Maltby.

Parker stressed that flooding will be reduced if those who can help clear a roadside drain near them, do so. He also added while many in Snohomish County will soon see above-freezing temperatures, some roads could remain icy a little longer.

“There may be patches where it’s still frozen, so continue to drive carefully like you have been this past week just a little while longer and just be a little extra cautious.”