One man's flood a real disaster


January 11, 2023

Fate intervened on Dec. 27. First is the fact that the day before, Monday was a municipal holiday. Secondly the Dunlap Towing stopped running their weekly ad providing the tide tables to the community in this newspaper three or four years ago.

At approximately 7:40 a.m. on the 27th, my wife alerted me to flooding around our house. I tried to contact Public Works and the Town offices to no avail, I called 911. I moved quickly to move our vehicles to higher ground. Next, I went to the source of the water, which was flowing down Caledonia Street like a river through the Moore Clark property. Fire District 13 had a firetruck there and a Sheriff’s car was there as well as a Public works employee. I asked what was going on? I was told that they were waiting for sandbags. A call went out to high school athletic teams at 9 a.m. to come and help fill sandbags. The water was now three feet deep in my garage and was inside two nearby homes.

Disaster tourism was next, with people cruising through deep water, creating waves that pushed more water into people's homes. Items that floated out of my garage were picked up and taken away. I went to the Sheriff’s office In Town Hall and personally asked for the road to be closed. It was 9:30 a.m.

Overall response was uncoordinated between fire, police and the Town. Yes, there were bright spots provided by public works staff after the flooding stopped, and they are appreciated. The dumpsters provided by the Town for flood victims have saved time and money. I personally emptied most of the contents of my garage, and can hopefully throw away all the insulation and heating ductwork from our home into a dumpster later this week.

Standing in flood water, I asked Town Administrator Scott Thomas about potential disaster assistance. Mr. Thomas suggested that I look into an SBA loan. He also stated that "they never expected that the water would get that high."

On Monday Dec. 26, by chance, I had a conversation in the street with former council member Jacques Brunisholz about flood control. For years flood control was his mantra. He expressed frustration about progress on this issue. Climate change is real! The town faces not only danger from rising tides but serious flood damage from the Skagit River. Yes there is flood insurance which is a farce at $1,800 per year, with a $5,000 deductible and no coverage for the contents of one’s home.

In my neighborhood there are two homes that are uninhabitable. Many other homes experienced serious damage: 14 homes were affected. Hopefully serious lobbying efforts are being made by the Town for some disaster relief.

In conclusion, I would hope that a coordinated emergency flood disaster plan be implemented, include all relevant parties and that serious efforts be made to protect the town. I hope I never have to hear "we never expected the water to get that high" again.

Welch lives in the south end of La Conner. See page 5 photo.


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