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Seattle's South Park neighborhood bracing for another king tide after devastating floods

Seattle Public Utilities placed sandbags in the South Park community preparing for potential flooding during another king tide.

SEATTLE — The South Park community bracing for another king tide in six days. This after the neighborhood is still recovering from devastating floods caused by a king tide, rain runoff, and melting snow in late December.

Three weeks ago to the day, Andy Cenarussa’s basement was underwater, now things have dried out and the recovery has begun.

“Once the water was out, there was a layer of mud all over everything. We had to get rid of pretty much everything that was down here,” Cenarussa said.

December’s king tide forced people out of their homes and belongings still stored on the street. Restoration in the South Park neighborhood could take months and homeowners like Cenarussa are facing at least tens of thousands of dollars in repairs. This as they’re waiting for the next round of king tides to come through.

“They're predicting it to be just as bad or worse so we'll see what happens. The worst has pretty much already happened. At this point the things left to get damaged are things that are already damaged,” Cenarussa said.

To keep waters at bay, Seattle Public utilities placed sandbags and barriers in key low lying areas and along the Duwamish River. SPU is making sandbags available for people who live in the area and staff are coordinating with residents and businesses on pick-up or drop-off locations.

“I'm mostly curious at this point. I want to see if the river comes up and the sandbags hold then are we going to see groundwater come up,” Cenarussa said.

The city said its developing a community notification system for potentially impactful high tides, and working on long term solutions like improving drainage infrastructure.

A king tide on Dec. 27 caused the Duwamish River to overtop its banks and flooded businesses and homes throughout the South Park neighborhood. SPU, city departments, and community groups helped residents with a place to stay, food, cleanup services, laundry and debris pickup.

It’s a problem that isn’t going away. As sea levels continue to rise this is something the community will likely see again.

“It's great what they're doing but we need a long term solution to climate change. That's what we really need and something we can't expect a single utility company to tackle,” Cenarussa said.

Utility crews will be in the area to monitor conditions throughout the upcoming king tide.

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