Man missing as northern river flood waters recede

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by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on December 13, 2010 at 5:57 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 13 at 7:01 PM

ARLINGTON, Wash. – Rescue crews searched for about two hours along the Skagit River in Mount Vernon for a homeless man who had reportedly gotten swept away by rising waters. Two homeless men were camping along the river when the waters started to rise and only one of them apparently got out.

"It sounds like he was up out of the water and in a tree," said Lt. Chris Cammock of the Mount Vernon Police Department. Despite a search both on the water and from the air, no one was located.

All across the north Puget Sound area, concerns rose along with the flood waters. The Stillaquamish River reached record flood stage Sunday afternoon, tying the record set in November of 2006.  About 230 homes and businesses in Granite Falls near the Stillaguamish River were asked to evacuate. Current flood watches and warnings

People were checking on their loved ones and properties. Joni Gliessman was trying to get to her mother's home in Silvana, which was cut off by impassable roads.

"She used to brag that it never flooded there and now our last two, she's getting water," said Gliessman.

Despite the wide spread flooding for the most part damage has been minimal.

Paul Klein, 88, wasn't so lucky. His family was forced to move his furniture to higher ground as water flooded his living room. He's lived at the home for 40 years but only recently has he seen flood waters so high.

"Two years ago we had one just like it. This is about a half inch higher," said Klein.

More rain is expected Monday night. KING 5 Chief Meteorologist Jeff Renner says expect 4 to 6 hours of steady rain before a cold front moves through Tuesday morning. Latest forecast

The Stillaguamish and Skagit rivers are receding. Renner expects the Snohomish to fall below flood stage Tuesday night in Monroe and Wednesday morning in Snohomish.

A log jam under Highway 2 in Snohomish threatened to send water up over the highway. Heavy equipment was used early Monday morning to clear the jam.

Snohomish County's Department of Emergency Management is monitoring river levels along the Stillaguamish, Snohomish and Skykomish rivers.

Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon issued an emergency declaration to respond to flooding throughout the area. The emergency declaration frees up county resources for quicker response to flooding and helps the county document damages for federal reporting. 

As rivers recede, Snohomish County residents are asked to begin documenting any damage their property may have incurred through photographs, repair receipts and values of property replacement.

Residents and business owners can begin reporting damage assessments by calling the Snohomish County's Department of Emergency Management (DEM) at 425-388-5088 until 6 p.m. Monday and between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. the remainder of this week. DEM will be collecting totals and sending them to state and federal emergency management agencies.

"Now that we're moving into recovery, it's very important to total damages throughout Snohomish County," Reardon said.

The Red Cross has opened shelters at Cedar Home Seventh Day Adventist Church, 28505 68th St. NW, Stanwood, and at Granite Falls Middle School.

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