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Army Corps of Engineers continues Western Washington flood assistance

Posted on December 6, 2023

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers team is providing direct assistance to the City of Hamilton, Washington and work began Monday evening to temporarily raise a threatened levee.

The Seattle District’s Emergency Operations Center and Reservoir Control Center (RCC) are continuing their response to multiple atmospheric rivers and ongoing heavy precipitation impacting the region. Both centers are operating 24-hours a day assisting with regional flood fight efforts.

In addition to the direct assistance to Hamilton, the Corps of Engineers also provided a large pump to the Quinault Indian Nation, 10,000 sandbags and 300 super sacks to communities in Grays Harbor.

National Weather Service officials are predicting several Western Washington rivers to reach flood stage with significant impacts to occur in the Skagit and Snohomish River basins. Corps of Engineers Emergency Management personnel are also monitoring several other rivers for potential impacts.

Corps of Engineers personnel are also deployed to Skagit and Snohomish counties and continue monitoring river conditions.

The Corps of Engineers owns and regulates Mud Mountain Dam on the White River, and Howard Hanson Dam, on the Green River.  Both reservoirs are near empty and have storage space available to reduce flood risk on those rivers.

The Corps of Engineers began directing operations at Seattle City Light-owned Ross Dam and Puget Sound Energy-owned Upper Baker Dam in the Skagit River basin during yesterday evening’s heavy rain. Ross and Upper Baker dams are mandated to provide storage space in their reservoirs for Corps of Engineers’ use during Western Washington’s flood season. PSE and SCL are proactive partners often providing more storage space than required.

According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, atmospheric rivers are long, flowing columns of condensed water vapor. Like a conveyor belt, they carry vapor for thousands of miles from out over the ocean. When an atmospheric river hits the West Coast, it can generate a series of storms, with each storm producing inches of rain.

Public Law 84-99 enables USACE to assist state and local authorities in flood fight activities and cost share in the repair of eligible flood protection structures. The purpose is to prevent loss of life and minimize property damage associated with severe weather.

Private citizens seeking sandbags or assistance should contact their local government offices.

Corps of Engineers officials closely monitor the National Weather Service which issues flood watches and warnings. NWS information is available on their River Forecast Center website at


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