Flooding

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Emergency Management training in action

Bellevue's drainage system - composed of streams, lakes, wetlands, flood detention sites, pipes and ditches - has been designed to hold and carry water during storms to prevent flooding.  However, when an intense storm hits and overwhelms the system, flooding may occur.  Flooding can cause property damage and streambank erosion. 

Illustrated Guides for Flooding

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Preparing for Heavy Rains; Prevent Flooding

  • Check storm drains near your home and business and clear away leaves and debris.  Clogged grates are often the reason a street floods during a storm.  City employees clear storm drains, but it is difficult to get to all 20,000 public drains.  We appreciate your help.
  • Inspect and clean sediment, debris and rocks from driveways on your property, private roadway culverts, and swales.  Culverts (pipes that carry stormwater under a roadway) can get clogged and cause flooding.  Property owners are responsible for maintenance of these private drainage systems.  If you need to hire a service, see our list of vendors
  • Clear debris and leaves from roof gutters and downspounts to protect your property.  See Drainage Around Your Home for more information.
  • Install a sump pump.  If you already own a sump pump, test it to make sure it will be in good working order if a storm hits.
  • Do not dump trash, grass clippings, wood, Christmas trees, large rocks or other debris into streams or drainage ditches.  These activities can block the flow of water.  If you see dumping, call utilities at (425)452-7840.
  • Leave natural vegetation on steep slopes and along streams and lakes. Plants slow stormwater runoff, filter pollutants, and stabilize the earth so it wont wash away.
  • To determine if your house is in a floodplain, consult the floodplain map.
  • Know how to shut off your electricity, gas and water at main switches and valves. You may need to shut off these utilities if your home floods. 
  • Sing up for Bellevue Alert System to receive valuable information during an emergency or flood. 
  • Have an emergency kit prepared ahead of time in case you need to evacuate your home.
  • Plan for evacuation including where you are going and the route you'll follow. 

During Heavy Rains

Flooding
  • Call 911 for life-threatening emergencies.
  • Call Bellevue Utilities at (425)452-7840 (24/7 Emergency Number) if your home or office is in danger of flooding. 
  • During a storm, it's normal for streams to rise.  Some parking lots and parks are designed to fill with water.
  • Unplug all electrical appliances and turn off gas at the meter. Move valuables to higher floors. 
  • Do not attempt to walk through flooded areas.  Water can be deeper than it appears.  Stay away from moving water, it is easy to lose your balance. 
  • Do not attempt to drive through standing water. Even a small amount of water can stall your car. If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.
  • Stay away from fallen power lines and electrical wires. Assume any downed power line is an energized power line.

If your property floods:

  • When reentering your home, use a flashlight. Do not use candles or cell phone lights in case of a gas leak.
  • Turn off power at the circuit breaker for areas that have flooded. If the circuit breaker is wet, contact Puget Sound Energy at 1-888-225-5773.
  • Check for structural damage and beware of gas leaks, electric shorts and live wires.
  • Wear gloves and boots when cleaning up.
  • Disinfect all hard surfaces with soap and water or a solution of one cup bleach per gallon of water.
  • discard any items that cannot be adequately cleaned or disinfected.
  • discard all food that has come in contact with flood water.  Canned food will be safe however, thoroughly clean the can prior to opening. 
  • Call your insurance agent for information on flood claims.

To learn more on how you can prepare for a flood or for other flood-related services visit King County for more information.