'All of our equipment started to float': Tides, rainfall cause chaos in Snohomish County

Floodwaters hit the Everett area especially hard on Tuesday morning.

King tides, rain and swollen rivers from recent snowmelt created a dangerous situation in low-lying areas near the Snohomish River and by the shore.

On Smith Island, the Hansen Boat Company was among the areas that quickly took on water.

"We didn’t think it was that bad," said Bob Savoy, a mechanic at the company. "When we came into work we waded through it, but it just kept coming – all of our equipment started to float."

Savoy and his co-workers started moving trucks and equipment out as quickly as possible, but the water had already trapped some vehicles. Savoy said his truck took on water, but he was able to get the vehicle started and moved before the engine block was ruined.

"Couple of other guys aren’t as fortunate," he said, describing how water topped a dike underneath the railroad tracks.

The dike eventually gave way, and water came flowing through the island, causing the Public Works Department to shut down the road in multiple places. It also trapped a handful of people who had parked their boats at a nearby marina, but folks said they were stocked up on food and could wait out the tides.

"It usually floods a little, but I’ve never seen it this bad before," said one woman who talked with FOX 13 via a cell phone, after a river spontaneously formed and separated her from us. "We’ve never been trapped here. It was flowing like a river earlier."

The impacts are important to groups like Washington Sea Grant and UW Climate Impacts Group, and king tides give us a better idea of where sea level rise is heading.

Guillaume Mauger, a research scientist with UW Climate Impacts Group, said these specific king tides were roughly 1.5 feet higher than what we typically see during a high tide event.

Some of that is built in from sea level rise that has already occurred. For instance, Seattle's sea level has risen roughly nine inches since the early 1900s, per Mauger. That number changes depending on where you are, due to Washington's tectonics. Gig Harbor, for instance, has seen a change over the years closer to four inches.

"This is a chance to see what we should be planning for, especially when we think about infrastructure that will be around for decades," said Mauger. "These kinds of events will happen more often in the future, so what we’re seeing today, it’s a window into the future, knowing one day these will be the new norm."

In fact, you can help scientists plan for changes that are needed. Washington Sea Grant asks that people upload pictures taken during king tides that can be gauged against familiar landmarks—things like roads, buildings, sea walls, piers and boat ramps so that they can better understand the real world implications of higher water levels.

You can share them using the MyCoast app.

As for today’s event, the water is receding after peaking earlier in the day.

Some areas, like Smith Island, will likely need large pumps to clear out water.

READ MORE: LIVE UPDATES: Heavy rain, winds leave flooding, thousands without power across Puget Sound

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In North Everett, water from the Snohomish River flooded the Intermodal yard that the county uses to pickup shipping containers to haul trash out of the region. They believe they’ll be able to re-open soon.

Others, like Savoy, are still waiting for vehicles to dry out.

"We still got guys in there underneath the underpass, the water is six feet deep still, so they can’t get their vehicles out," said Savoy.