A combination of extremely high tides, coastal wind, rain and rapid snowmelt meant flooding Friday for the Edison area.
Bernie Alonzo, who owns the local shop Hedgerow with his wife Christy Erickson, said the couple’s business was affected early Friday morning.
“We’ve got water on the floor of our business. The tide is receding but we are still pumping water out of the shop,” Alonzo said about noon.
This is the first tidal flooding the couple has seen reach their shop in the eight years they’ve owned the business. Alonzo said they are grateful, though, that their Edison home remained dry.
“There is water covering the first floor of a few residences,” Alonzo said of some less lucky Edison neighbors.
Skagit County announced Friday morning that Edison’s main streets were closed and sandbags were made available at the Edison Fire Station on Bow Hill Road.
Alonzo said as of midday, McTaggart Avenue and Cain Court remained closed.
Edison is largely bordered by Edison Slough, which drains into nearby Samish Bay.
As seasonally high tides called King Tides rose early Friday, residents said saltwater backed into the slough and overwhelmed the area’s drainage system.
Charles Atkinson, who owns several local businesses with his husband David Blakesley, said water from Edison Slough first went over the top of the bridge near the local school, then swept into yards and crept into homes and businesses. Meanwhile, water also began to emerge from storm drains onto local roads.
“The drains were pumping saltwater into our streets,” Atkinson said.
The couple’s Mariposa Taqueria sustained water damage in the process.
As of 1 p.m., the water was still draining back out of the area.
“This is the most extreme event we’ve seen around here,” Atkinson said. “One of the neighbors says they haven’t seen an event like this since the 1970s.”
Alonzo and Atkinson said Hedgerow and Mariposa are among local businesses now temporarily closed for flood cleanup.
The National Weather Service issued a coastal flood advisory for the region Friday morning due to the incoming King Tides, combined with northwest coastal winds at speeds of up to 40 mph.
Meteorologist Dustin Guy said those storm surge conditions exacerbated the reach of the King Tides, which occur a few times each year when the moon’s location within its orbit creates its strongest gravitational pull on the Earth.
“When these really high tides called King Tides occur coupled with low atmospheric pressure or high winds, that can drive them even higher,” Guy said of the tides. “We’ve got a bad combination going on today ... shoving what was already going to be a high tide even higher, and pushing that water up onshore and even up rivers.”
According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tidal data, much of coastal northwest Washington was under high water conditions with the potential for flooding Friday.
According to NOAA’s preliminary tidal data from the closest area observation stations — at Cherry Point to the north, Friday Harbor to the west and Port Townsend to the south — the tides may have reached 1 to 2 feet higher than predicted.
The weather service anticipates the flooding will cease as tides lower again.