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Murrow College of Communication at WSU

Rainwater Floods Downtown Pullman

PULLMAN – Tuesday night downtown Pullman experienced heavy flooding in roads along Grand Avenue.

Pullman Fire Department and Pullman Police assisted with emergency evacuations and set up road blocks throughout the night.

“The water was stranding cars and trapping pedestrians,” said Chris Wehrung, Pullman’s Chief Fire Marshall.

Officials said it was Pullman’s worst flood since 1997. Instead of melting snow runoff or burst pipes, the flood was caused by the rain.

As the ground saturated rainwater overflowed the rivers, and made its way into the roads.

“There are three forks of rivers, they all merge on Davis Way and Grand,” said Wehrung. “So that point is where all the water is trying to get to.”

Roadblocks on the intersections of Grand Avenue. and Stadium Way, as well as Grand Ave. and Whitman Street kept motorists and pedestrians away from the flood water. But traffic wasn’t the only safety concern in downtown Pullman.

After previous floods the city of Pullman elevated a stretch of Grand Avenue beside Tractor Towne Square. They did this in efforts to divert water away from the water pumping station on the corner of Grand Avenue. and Ritchie Street.

A Pullman city official said if flood water reaches high enough in the building, it contaminates all of Pullman’s drinking water.

While floodwater did breach the building, the water level was not high enough to contaminate the pumping station.

As a precaution, Pullman Water Department shut down the pumping station, and notified Whitman County Health Department.

By Wednesday the water cleared up and most streets in downtown Pullman reopened. National Weather Services lifted the flood advisory at midnight.



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