Flood Preparedness Information for the Floodplain Residents of the City of Sultan

The City of Sultan sits at the confluence of the Sultan and Skykomish Rivers. Its location provides wonderful recreation opportunities. However, it also presents challenges, especially during times of heavy rain when the rivers rise and overflow their normal channels. About 30 percent of Sultan residents are located within the Flood Hazard Area.

The information on this page is intended to provide you with valuable information on how to prepare, respond and protect your property and family from the impacts of a flood disaster. This is only one of several documents available from the City of Sultan Building Department designed to inform the public about flood preparedness. For more information, please contact:

City of Sultan Building Department
Phone: 360-793-2231
E-mail: cityhall@ci.sultan.wa.us

Current river height:

USGS Water-data graph for site 12134500


Flood Hazard Areas in Sultan

There are three flood zones in the City limits of Sultan:

  1. The Floodway, which is located south of Dyer Road and Skywall Drive alongside the Skykomish River and west of 1st Street bordering the Sultan River.
  2. The 100-Year Flood Zone, which contains a large portion of the City.
  3. The 500-Year Flood Zone, which is a small fraction of the City found mostly on the fringes of the 100-Year Zone.
  Flood Facts
  • Snohomish County is the second most flood prone county in the state of Washington.
  • The floodplains of Sultan are created by three river systems. The Skykomish, the Sultan, and the Wallace Rivers.
  • Flooding occurs frequently on all of these systems. Records show that major flooding has occurred 10 times since 1980, with the Thanksgiving flood of 1990 the largest on record.
  • Snohomish County is the number one repetitive loss area in the region.
  • Flooding problems associated with these river systems include: over-bank river flooding, rapid stream channel migration, and stream bank erosion.
  Eight Things You Can Do to Protect Your Home
  1. Buy flood insurance.
  2. Have sand bags and other items to protect your home such as plastic sheeting, plywood, and portable pumps at the ready.
  3. Store important documents and personal objects where they won’t get damaged.
  4. Elevate or relocate utilities and/or your entire home.
  5. Install backflow prevention devices in your sewer connections to prevent floodwaters from entering your home.
  6. Build and install flood shields for doors and openings to prevent the entrance of floodwater.
  7. Install a sump pump with backup power in crawl spaces or basements.
  8. Place openings in your foundation walls that will allow the entrance and exit of floodwaters to prevent foundation failure.
  Best Protection: Flood Insurance
National Flood Insurance is the only dependable financial protection against flood damage. Your standard homeowners insurance will not cover losses by flooding and Federal disaster assistance is only available after the President declares a disaster. Disaster assistance will rarely cover all flood related losses. Flood insurance is an affordable way (the average flood insurance policy in Washington is approximately $400.00 per year) to provide the financial protection your home needs. For more information, call your insurance agent or 1-888-356-6329, 1-800-480-2520. Remember, there is a mandatory 30-day waiting period on all new policies, so don’t wait.
  Where Can I Build
The City of Sultan regulates all development within identified floodplains to promote public safety and prevent flood losses through its Critical Areas Ordinance. Any filing, grading, new constructions or alterations to a property within the Municipal Floodplain will require a permit. Also, the City of Sultan Code will require any structure within the designated floodplain that is damaged or improved more than 50% of its market value to be elevated to the designated floodplain elevation. To find out if your property is in a designated floodplain, or to report any probable non-permitted development in the floodplain contact please contact the City of Sultan Building Department.
  Flood Safety Tips

Following is a list of important considerations that should be followed during times of flooding:

  • Prepare and evacuation plan.
    • Before the floodwaters hit, develop an evacuation plan among all members of a household, which includes a meeting place outside of the house, as well as, an escape route out of the floodplain and away from floodwaters.
  • Do not drive through a flooded area.
    • More people down in their cars than anywhere else. Don’t drive around road barriers; the road or bridge may be washed out.
  • Stay away from power lines and electrical wires.
    • The number two flood killer after drowning is electrocution. Electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to the Public Utility District or the County Emergency Management Office.
  • Shut off gas and electricity and move valuable contents upstairs.
    • Be prepared in advance with a detailed checklist because warning of an impending flood may provide little time for preparation prior to evacuation.
  • Look out for animals, especially snakes.
    • Small animals that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours. Use a pole or stick to poke and turn things over and scare away small animals.
  • Look before you step.
    • After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs which have been covered with mud can be very slippery.

Be alert for gas leaks.

  • Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Don’t smoke or use candles, lanterns or open flames unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated.
  Flood Warnings

During heavy rains, Snohomish County Officials begin a “flood watch” and activate the Flood Warning Operations Center at the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) in Everett. The National Weather Service (NWS) uses information from the River Gauges and forecasts to make flood predictions. Phase 2 is the official flood stage used by NWS to issue watches, warnings, or statements. The DEM center updates the warnings based on continuous river flow and stage (water level) data received from river gauges and information from volunteer “river watches” and County Fields Staff.During the flood watch, close coordination occurs between Snohomish County’s DEM, Department of Public Works and Sheriff’s department. The County also coordinates with the Army Corps of Engineers about status of dikes and with emergency service agencies such as the Red Cross, for help with persons evacuated from their homes. Agency responses occur in four phases depending on the severity of expected flooding, with Phase 4 being the most severe. To find out information on flooding, keep your radio tuned to a local radio station or contact Snohomish County DEM at (425) 423-7635.

  Natural and Beneficial Functions of Floodplains

Floodplains are a natural component of the City of Sultan environment. Understanding and protecting the natural functions of floodplains helps reduce flood damage and protect resources. When flooding spreads out across the floodplain, its energy is dissipated, which results in lower flood flows downstream, reduced erosion of the stream bank and channel, deposition of sediments higher in the watershed and improved groundwater recharge. Floodplains on scenic, valued wildlife habitat, and suitable for farming. Poorly planned development in floodplains can lead to stream bank erosion, loss of valuable property, increased risk of flooding to downstream properties and degradation or water quality.

  Things You Can Do To Prevent Localized Flooding
  • Do not dump debris in creeks, streams or channels. It is a violation of City Code to dump in the waterways of Snohomish County.
  • Keep roadside ditches and other conveyances free of obstruction.
  • Report any apparent illegal actions within the floodplain such as un-permitted development or dumping.
  Important Phone Numbers to Know During a Flood

Request for Assistance (Non-Emergency)

  1. Snohomish County DEM 425-425-7635
  2. 24 Hour Flood Warning Information 425-388-3653
  3. Red Cross 425-252-4103

To Report Non-Emergency Drainage or Flooding Problems

  1. City of Sultan Public Works 360-793-1262

To Volunteer with Sandbagging

  1. Snohomish County DEM 425-423-7635

Web Sites with More Flood Warning Information

  1. National Weather Service
  2. National Weather Service – Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service
  3. Washington State Emergency Management Division
  Elevation Certificates for the City of Sultan
Services and Documents available from the City of Sultan Building Department

The City of Sultan is pleased to announce we will provide floodplain information upon request.We maintain a complete library of City of Sultan Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). These maps are available at City Hall, and in the Sultan Sno-Isle Library.

At City Hall we also have topography mapping showing 75 percent of the City.

We have created flood maps that have the following attributes:

  1. Water Depth: Shows the base flood Elevation in relation to ground Elevation.
  2. Repetitive flood loss map: Showing location of flood losses that equal or exceed $1,000.
  3. LOMA map: Shows location of all Letters Of Map Amendment, includes case #.
  4. Base Flood Elevations mapping in some unnumbered A zones: Shows interpolated flood elevations using best available information.

This information is an incalculable asset helping you meet State and Federal law requirements.

We also maintain a library of Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency publications regarding all aspects of flood damage prevention.

We also keep on record:

  1. Elevation Certificates.
  2. Elevation Determinations.
  3. Letters of Map Amendment.
  4. Conditional Letters of map Amendment.
  5. Reinstatement Letters.

We also provide on-site project review; we will meet with and/or your clients at the project site upon request.

Using the adopted Flood Insurance Rate Maps we will determine the Base Flood Elevation and incorporate this information in section B9 of an elevation certificate to be completed by a Washington State Registered Professional Land Surveyor.

We will review all certificates and documents for completeness and accuracy.

  ICC Claims Process

In most cases, the following will occur with an ICC claim:

  1. Report flood loss to insurer.
  2. Claims adjuster makes estimate of flood damage and tells policyholder he/she may be eligible for ICC benefits.
  3. Building department determines building is substantially damaged or is a repetitive loss. Discuss mitigation options which will comply with floodplain regulations. Issues necessary building permits for mitigation measures.
  4. Policyholder provides the building departments written determination of substantial damage or repetitive loss to the adjuster.
  5. Adjuster will set up an ICC claims file: Obtain damage and market value information on structure. For a repetitive loss structure, get previous claim information. Verify the flood related damage for the current building claim supports community information.
  6. Policyholder must obtain a signed contract which details costs to perform the mitigation activity and give it to the claims representative.
  7. The adjuster will provide proof of loss form to the policyholder.
  8. Policyholder will provide proof of loss and copy of community permit to the insurance company in order to receive the first portion of the ICC claim money.
  9. Adjuster then provides an initial ICC claim payment to the policyholder.
  10. Policyholder completes the mitigation measure.
  11. Building department inspects completed mitigation work and issues a Certificate of Occupancy.
  12. Policyholder provides a copy of certificate of occupancy to the insurer.
  13. Adjuster makes final ICC claim payment upon receipt of Certificate of Occupancy.