U.S. Highway 101 has reopened fully at Lake Crescent after state Department of Transportation maintenance crews cleared debris from three slides caused by Monday’s storms. (State Department of Transportation)

U.S. Highway 101 has reopened fully at Lake Crescent after state Department of Transportation maintenance crews cleared debris from three slides caused by Monday’s storms. (State Department of Transportation)

Crews cleaning up after the floods

Damage assessment could lead to emergency help

PORT ANGELES — U.S. Highway 101 is now fully open around Lake Crescent.

State Department of Transportation (DOT) maintenance crews cleared more than 5,000 yards of gravel and debris from three slides between mileposts 220 and 231 that had been triggered by rainstorms Monday.

The highway fully reopened at 5 p.m. Friday.

Highway 101 south of Forks has reopened to alternating travel and will require an emergency contract to correct the hillside, DOT said.

Landslides on state Highway 112 at mileposts 15.8 near Clallam Bay and 32 near Jim Creek will take even more work to clear. Both caused severe damage that will require emergency contracts to reopen, DOT said.

The slide near Clallam Bay is reported to be 325 feet high and 275 feet wide. It broke a water main into Sekiu, which Clallam County Public Utility District has bypassed in order to provide Sekiu with fresh water.

A boil-water was lifted for that community last week.

However, neighboring Clallam Bay remains without running water.

Volunteers have been handing out bottled water at a filling station at the Clallam Bay Library, 16990 state Highway 112, this weekend including, today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Also, a tank truck carrying potable water is available there for residents to help themselves.

Residents can fill their own containers with water at the library, Nicole Hartman, communications manager for the Clallam County Public Utility District (PUD), said Friday.

“If the truck is not there, it is being refilled,” Hartman said.

Officials will continue to truck water in from Sekiu, using an emergency access road around a mudslide between the two communities. It is expected to take several more days before PUD officials will be able to reconnect Clallam Bay to water service, Hartman said.

DOT, PUD and the Clallam County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) said they are working to reconnect the area and provide services.

“The response from neighboring communities, fire districts, and private vendors has been remarkable,” said Undersheirff Ron Cameron in a press release.

Volunteers also rose to the occasion.

The volunteer pilots of the Clallam County Disaster Airlift Response Team (DART) flew in bottled water soon after the slide.

Neah Bay continues to be cut off by landslides on state Highway 112.

DOT said engineering geologists visited landslides on Highway 101 and 112 and found that long-term repairs will be necessary on Highway 101 at milepost 185 and on Highway 112 at Clallam Bay and Jim Creek.

“A timeline for repairs and reopening will be announced as they become available,” DOT said.

The storms caused massive flooding throughout the Pacific Northwest. On the North Olympic Peninsula, the West End was cut off from the rest of the state by landslides, Bogachiel River flooding led to 10 to 12 people being rescued by the Coast Guard, and flooding on state Highway 110 isolated La Push.

Record rainfall for Nov. 15 was reported at the Quillayute Airport near Forks, with 4.05 inches of rain observed between midnight Sunday to midnight Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

The bridge over the Elwha River on Highway 101 was closed as a precaution and was reopened on Wednesday after an inspection found it was safe.

Both Clallam and East Jefferson counties suffered electrical power outages, with the Jefferson County PUD reporting more than 11,000 without power at the peak of the storm — “one of the biggest outage incidents we’ve had in years,” the PUD reported on its Twitter feed.

On Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a severe weather state of emergency in Clallam and Jefferson counties, as well as in Grays Harbor, Island, Lewis, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Mason, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston and Whatcom counties.

The Clallam County EOC is coordinating efforts to assess the damage in the storm impact areas to see if the county qualifies for federal assistance, Cameron said.

If the county does qualify, the Emergency Management Department will provide information on how individuals may report damage and apply for assistance, Cameron said.

Those with property damage are asked to call 360-565-2684 and leave a message with your name and call back number, Cameron said; those who call will be called back beginning Monday.

For information about the Jefferson County EOC, see https://www.co.jefferson.wa.us/1100/Emergency-Operations-Center or call 360- 385-9368.


Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]

Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at [email protected]

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