Sultan's Chief Tseul-Ted statue appeared to be walking on water on Friday, Nov. 28, as the Skykomish and Sultan Rivers exceeded their flood levels, spilling over their banks and flooding several different areas near downtown Sultan.
Rainfall was consistent and unrelenting as the water took over a portion of Main Street. Large trees, logs and other debris rushed down the adjoining Skykomish River, at times jamming up in the area where the two rivers converge. Several large logs managed to push their way through, settling in River Park and along First Street, which was completely underwater from Main Street to Alder Avenue.
On the west side of town near the wastewater treatment plant, water completely overtook Sportsman's Park.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Skykomish River near Gold Bar reaches minor flood stage at 15 feet. Waters last week exceeded that by several feet, with the river reaching 18.22 feet at its highest stage, which occurred at 3:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon.
Flood levels in between 17 and 19 feet are considered moderate.
The river level heightened rapidly; rising over five feet between 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 27, and 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 28.
On the south side of U.S. 2, the water overtook an illegal camping area that was once populated by numerous homeless individuals. In June, the Snohomish County Sheriff's Department partnered with Snohomish County Parks, Public Works and Snohomish County Solid Waste, working collaboratively to clear out the illegal campsites.
The cleanup was planned after Snohomish County Sheriff's Department East County Lt. Monte Beaton and Sultan city officials toured the area, an excursion which revealed a significant amount of trash left behind by illegal residents. The group discovered several campsites that were overflowing with refuse including propane tanks, spray paint cans, lighters, alcohol containers, empty bottles, bicycle parts, pots, pans, food wrappers, rotten and moldy clothing and shoes, blankets, tarps, batteries and much more.
The county's cleanup team, which came through with trucks and other heavy equipment, removed over 12 tons of garbage from the area. At the time, Chief Beaton expressed urgency over removing the trash for fear that it would all end up in the river during a flood event.
Standing on the Mann Road Bridge near U.S. 2 on Friday, it was abundantly clear that the chief's concern was well-founded. The roiling waters rushed through during the river's highest stage at a rate of over 60,000 cubic feet per second.
Snohomish County Fire District #5 kept the community updated via their Facebook page, providing up-to-date information on flooded areas including road closures.
"Please be careful, and do not attempt to cross roads that are flooded. Not only is flowing water across a roadway deceptively strong; the road-bed can be undermined by the water,GÇ¥ they advised.
Despite warnings, however, a motorist who attempted to drive through floodwaters on Mann Road Friday needed to be rescued.
Mother Nature apparently was not through with her weekend display. Temperatures plummeted and on Saturday morning much of the Skykomish Valley woke up to anywhere from a dusting to a few inches of snow.