West Seattle Weather Watch: 7 ways to ensure rainy-season survival


(August 2008 photo courtesy Nancy in North Delridge)
Don’t let the current round of unseasonably dry fool you – sooner or later, it’s going to rain. That’s why the city put on a show-and-tell this morning with the mayor and Seattle Public Utilities, to get the word out about keeping storm drains clear, as part of 7 steps you can take now to make sure you survive the next deluge:

Here’s the official city news release, with those seven tips:

As Seattle prepares for another storm season, Mayor Greg Nickels is inviting residents to join the city’s adopt-a-drain program.

“At this time of year, the combination of changing weather and falling leaves can clog drains on a moment’s notice, creating the possibility for flooding,” Nickels said. “Keeping drains free of debris reduces the chance of flooding in your neighborhood and also prevents pollutants from being diverted to streams, creeks and Puget

City crews recently inspected 78,000 storm drains around Seattle that provide critical infrastructure to keep Seattle’s neighborhoods from flooding. Crews cleaned the one-third of the drains that required cleaning, and with the adopt-a-drain program, the public can help keep the drains clear during winter storms.

The city provides free leaf pickup for volunteers, and provides all of the materials needed for cleaning drains. Since the program started last fall, some 200 volunteers have signed up for the program, and are helping to maintain about 800 storm drains.

Signing up for the program is easy. Visit mayor.seattle.gov or call the Adopt-a-Drain hotline, at 206-684-7647. Leave your name, phone number, and address and we will send you everything you need – gloves, bags, rakes, brooms, safety vests, and shovels – to get started.

Along with keeping storm drains clear, Seattle residents should bear in mind other safety measures as the storm season approaches:

1. Stay out of the way of flood waters. Play it safe and stay out of
low-lying areas during times of heavy rains. If your basement is prone
to flooding, stay out of the basement until the risk of flooding has

2. Maintain gutters and downspouts. Clean your gutters and the drainage
downspouts attached to your roof twice a year. Direct flows from
downspouts away from your home, without discharging flows to adjacent

3. Maintain drainage systems. Don’t put grass clippings, leaves or
other debris into the drains, ditches, creeks, culverts, gutters or
ravines. (In fact, it’s against the law). If you live at the base of a
hill or on a cliff, ensure that drainage and retaining walls are in good
shape. Preventative planting can also help reduce the chance of a mud
slide or flooding.

4. Assess your yard. Make sure the ground slopes away from your home.
The area within 10 feet of your home should slope away from your house.
Call a tree trimmer to inspect your trees and identify any hidden
diseases or weak branches that could fall in high winds.

5. Inspect your roof. Inspect for leaks or damage to rain gutters that
could cause a flat roof to flood.

6. Know where your shutoffs are. If flooding occurs, you’ll need to
know how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches and

7. Keep your distance from downed power lines. Anyone seeing a downed
line should immediately report it by calling 206-684-3000.

7 Replies to "West Seattle Weather Watch: 7 ways to ensure rainy-season survival"

  • cruiser October 29, 2008 (12:41 pm)

    Always amazed as I drive California Ave every morning at the guys/gals who armed with leaf blowers,directing fallen leaves onto the street in order to clear their storefronts. Where exactly do they think these leaves go?? Come on people pick em up and keep the drains clear.

  • Scott October 29, 2008 (1:00 pm)

    There is a city code about blowing debris onto city streets… obviously not enforced. I’m sure that Tracy will find the information about this… (not like she doesn’t have enough to do!).

  • WSB October 29, 2008 (1:08 pm)

    Perhaps this is it, from Seattle Municipal Code?


  • Scott October 29, 2008 (1:12 pm)

    SMC 15.46.030 Deposits in street or gutter.

    It is unlawful to wash or sweep or otherwise deposit any matter in any street or gutter.

    (Ord. 117569 Section 119, 1995; Ord. 90047 Section 38, 1961.)

  • P October 29, 2008 (3:53 pm)

    I watched a guy doing this, this morning at 6:45 in front of the cleaners at California and Admiral. After feeling the pain of last years flood, I can’t state enought that we all need to check those drains!

  • Susan October 29, 2008 (4:09 pm)

    A developer left a fabric drain protector in the drain in our alley over a year ago. It’s actually clogging the drain somewhat. I’ve tried to remove it, but would need some heavy duty tool to pry up the grate. Does anyone know where to call to get someone to remove it? The developer is long gone. Thanks.

  • WSB October 30, 2008 (2:20 pm)

    Have you called Seattle Public Utilities?
    I got info from them that reiterates the builder is obligated to remove the “drainage socks” after construction, but if the builder’s long gone and the sock is not, call SPU and they should be able to tell you what to do – TR

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