Submitted by Brendan Cowan.
Extremely heavy rains have fallen across the islands over the last 24 hours, causing a wide range of impacts to San Juan County roads and infrastructure. Public Works crews from both the County and the Town of Friday Harbor have been responding since late last night.
Orcas Island in particular has experienced a number of significant impacts, most notably a complete washout of Pt. Lawrence Road just past the turn off for Doe Bay, though a number of other locations are experiencing damage as well.
What the public should know and do:
-Recognize that rain is still falling, and it will be some time until the situation has stabilized enough to do a full assessment of damage. The situation is literally fluid, and it will take some time until the extent of impacts is clear.
-Stay off the roads as much as possible today and this evening, especially on Orcas Island. If driving is necessary, please use extreme caution and anticipate debris and/or water in the roadway.
-Do not attempt to drive through flooded areas. Water that looks shallow may in fact be hiding washed out roadbed or significant erosion under the surface.
-Impacts that are new or have not been signed/responded to may be reported at:Active life-threatening emergencies should be reported to 911.
Impacts to San Juan County roadways that have not previously been reported should be reported by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include exact location, details of impacts, and photos if available.
Impacts in the Town of Friday Harbor may be reported by calling 360-378-2810.
-Islanders should know that road washouts are complex engineering responses and are not repaired overnight. Extended disruptions should be anticipated. County emergency responders and Public Works staff are actively working to assess the current situation and formulate plans for ensuring seamless provision of Fire, EMS, and Sheriff services.
-As always, islanders helping islanders is the key to a strong community response. Local efforts to support impacted neighborhoods will almost certainly be required in the days or weeks to come.