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City Warns of Landslide Risk in Heavy Rains

Help prevent catastrophic damage from localized flooding by alerting city hall to potential landslides and keeping storm drains on your streets clear of leaves and other debris. Please tell us if you spot and issues!

Monday morning’s heavy rain and soggy Thanksgiving week forecast has City of Mercer Island Maintenance Department crews asking for the public’s help in monitoring the Island's slopes for landslides.

“With the forecast of on-again, off-again storms and rain, landslides are a risk,” said Glenn Boettcher, director of the Maintenance Department, who said a large percentage of homes on Mercer Island that are on or near a slope. “Pay attention to what's happening to your slope. If you see anything unusual, let us know.”

Maintenance right-of-way teams have been out over the past 24 hours on about a dozen calls to deal with minor flooding issues caused by clogged storm drains, casued by leaves blocking stormwater catch basins. Boettcher said the number was relatively low and crews had been conducting preventative sweeping of stormdrains all month, six-days a week, to keep drains clear.

“We keep the system very clean,” Boettcher said. “We haven't had anything beyond minor blockages spead out across the Island.”

Those crews will likely remain busy at least through Tuesday. The National Weather Service forecast for Mercer Island calls for heavy rain at times through Monday, a 100 percent chance of rain Monday night, and an 80- percent chance of rain Tuesday. A south wind will range from 5 to 16 mph.

Of course, rain is part of the culture of Western Washington, it shapes our geography, enables the growth of our huge forests and affects outdoor recreation. So we love talking about it, and perhaps few do that as well as University of Washington meteorologist Cliff Mass.  Check out his latest blog posts about the current storm system blowing through Washington here and here.

Who to Contact For Storm-Related Emergencies:

  • To report a problem with stormwater drainage and blocked catch basins, call the city's Maintenance Department at 206-275-7800, or report it online here.
  • To report a landslide or potential landslide, call the city's Development Services Group at 206-275-7728.
  • If you're experiencing an outage or suspect a natural gas leak, call Puget Sound Energy 1-888-225-5773. Click here for real-time updates, or check Twitter.com/PSETalk.
  • For more information on how to be prepared for emergencies and how to get information in an emergency, please visit the city's emergency preparedness webpage. For more tips on dealing with heavy rain and potential flooding, see this checklist on the web pages of Take Winter by Storm, a group formed by public and private utilities of Western Washington.

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Are you seeing any flooding issues in your neighborhood? Please tell us about it in the comments box below.

Jerry Gropp Architect AIA November 20, 2012 at 07:35 PM
I've known Glen for a long time. He's one of our best City employees. JerryG-
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA November 20, 2012 at 08:59 PM
This has always been a concern to those of us designing homes on Mercer Island. Here's some of mine on First Hill. JerryG-

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