Flooding on Thursday harries Aberdeen drivers

Rain, rain, go away, come again when it’s dry isn’t the exact idiom, but it certainly applied to Aberdeen on Thursday, Jan. 6, when roads were flooded with water from multiple sources.

As of Thursday morning, there were multiple “Water Over Roadway” signs city crews placed throughout Aberdeen. And just before 10 a.m., off Wishkah Street, there was a “Road Closed” sign at South M Street. Just before 1 p.m., the street looked like the shallow end of a swimming pool.

Aberdeen Schools were set to close an hour early because of Thursday’s rainfall. Two of the schools in Aberdeen’s district — AJ West Elementary School and Harbor Learning Center — were given an emergency closure because of rising flood levels, according to the superintendent’s office. The district said schools will be closed Friday.

Alex Kluh, insurance agent with American Family Insurance, said he hopes his daughter’s school doesn’t get flooded.

Kluh said he’s received calls from insurance customers who are concerned about what happens if the rain gets worse.

Rick Sangder, Aberdeen’s public works director, said the rain from Thursday was too much water for the system to handle.

“It could be so much worse,” he said.

Aberdeen seems to have some luck that the rain fell Thursday instead of Tuesday, Jan. 4, when four sources — king tide, tidal surge, rain and rapid snowmelt — all affected Grays Harbor County.

“If we had this rainfall (a couple) days ago we’d have been 10 times worse,” he said. He called that a guess.

The forecast through Friday, Jan. 7, calls for accumulations of 3 to 6 inches of rain in the Olympics, 4 to 9 inches for the Cascades and 2 to 4 inches in the lowlands.

As for Aberdeen, Sangder didn’t sound as though he was looking forward to the next few days of rain that the city will get.

“We’re not gonna fare well,” he said.

Sangder said there will be another king tide when Aberdeen reaches high tide. He said he’s already checked and that it’ll be as high as it was on Tuesday, Jan. 4. And now, Grays Harbor County has all the current rainfall with it.

King tides are the highest tides of the year, according to Washington State Department of Ecology. The king tides in Washington usually occur in late December and-or early January, the department’s website states.

Sangder said the king tide from Tuesday showed the county’s need for the North Shore Levee Project.

“What happened on Tuesday was possibly the best thing for people to see,” Sangder said. “If that tide were to happen on a day like today, we’d have two feet of water.”

Dee Anne Shaw, communications manager for Aberdeen School District, said it’s been a long time since water like this appeared.

“It’s been 15 or more years since my neighbor’s lawn filled up,” she said. “It’s been a long time, more than 10 (years) for sure.”

Shaw said the water around where she lives can rise and fall quickly.

“But when it’s here it can sure be annoying,” Shaw said.

Shaw said flooding happens every winter here, but this is different.

“This event just kind of underscores how important that levy is for this community,” she said.