Declaration of emergency signed for flooding in Yakima - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Declaration of emergency signed for flooding in Yakima

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YAKIMA, WA - The concern about flooding is getting bigger by the hour for people in Yakima. Mayor Kathy Coffey has signed a declaration of emergency.

The intersection at 40th Avenue and Fruitvale Boulevard is still shut down after extensive flooding earlier this morning. Crews with the City of Yakima have been working hard all day long to get the water levels down. They've spent the last five days on flood watch, literally working 24/7, sandbagging vulnerable areas and also pumping out water as much as possible.

"The cause of this flood is near record snowfall that we had this winter and a long cold winter that precluded the gradual, normal melting," said Yakima City Manager, Cliff Moore. "Then all of a sudden the last week or so, we had a rapid warm-up coupled with some rain in the hills."

This morning, 40th Avenue and Fruitvale Boulevard was deep underwater, flowing into parking lots and into nearby businesses.

"All of a sudden, the street, it was just flooded, and then it didn't take long," said Gloria Schaefer, General Manager at Shari's Café & Pies. "We've been squeegeeing since 6 o'clock this morning to keep the water out as much as we could."

Thankfully, no one has been hurt. But Yakima Police are worried about people getting too close to the flooding just to take a picture, or drivers ignoring "Road Closed" signs.

"Violators are being cited," said Captain Gary Jones with Yakima PD. "So save yourself a $136 ticket from not using our alternate routes." 

The City of Yakima is providing sandbags for businesses that may need them, but is asking residents to buy them.

"We want to be careful and make sure that no one puts themselves in harm's way," said Mayor Kathy Coffey.

The following is updated information from the City of Yakima regarding road closures in the city caused by flooding:

- Fruitvale Boulevard remains closed from 34th Avenue to 40th Avenue and will remain closed overnight

- The Highway 12 ramps at 40th Avenue remain closed and will remain closed overnight – Drivers trying to access Highway 12 are encouraged to use the 16th Avenue on-ramp to do so

- The outside, southbound lane of 40th Avenue between Wide Hollow Creek and Washington Avenue remains closed

If there are Yakima residents who have concerns about flooding please call the city's Emergency Operations Center at (509)575-6165.