November is Flood Awareness Month

Proclamation 930 KB
Press Release

Yakima River Assessment Scope of Work
Yakima River Assessment Current Schedule
Yakima River Assessment Project Information

Naneum, Wilson and Cherry Creek Watershed Assessment Project Information
Floodplain Regulations Flyer November 2013 930 KB
Kittitas County Public Works Annual Flood Newsletter 2013 323 KB
Kittitas County Public Works Annual Flood Newsletter 2012 2 MB

Be Prepared for Flooding this Winter Season

The water surface temperature of the Pacific Ocean influences weather worldwide. In the Pacific Northwest, when ocean temperatures are warmer than normal we can forecast warmer and dryer winters, known as El Nino, and when the water surface temperatures are colder than normal, we can forecast colder and wetter winters, known as La Nina. However, since the spring of 2012, water surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean has been average, known as La Nada. While this may sound like a good thing, it leads to unpredictable weather patterns that can be highly variable and destructive. Even though forecasters are unsure of what weather pattern we should expect during the winter season, flooding is always a threat in Kittitas County and it is important for everyone to be prepared.

In Kittitas County, flooding often occurs due to the combination of excessive precipitation and higher than normal temperatures. This causes tributaries of the Yakima River to rise, damaging bridges, land, roads and structures. Kittitas County is also vulnerable to "rain-on-snow" events, when heavy precipitation falls on snow causing the snow to rapidly melt. Ice jams in tributaries and the Yakima River can cause the flooding to be even more severe. Ice jams in canals and ditches can cause flooding in areas that may have never flooded before.

For more information on El Nino or La Nina, visit:

NOAA's El Nino Page
NOAA's La Nina Page
NASA's El Nino/La Nina Page

Status of FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map Update

The re-mapping process has been put on hold, and the County has not received an updated schedule and it is unknown when the project will restart. Any updates to the process will be noted on the Kittitas County Project Portal on the STARR website. STARR, which stands for Strategic Alliance for Risk Reduction, is a team of four consulting firms hired by FEMA to perform mapping, risk assessment and mitigation planning nationwide.

Floodplain Development Permits are required prior to beginning any work on improved or unimproved real estate within the 100-year floodplain. This includes, but is not limited to, buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations or storage of equipment or materials located within the areas of special flood hazard.

For more information, call Kittitas County Public Works at 509-962-7523.