>Storm Report #1 – 1/24/08

>Storm Reports We are requesting any December storm related photos you might have so we can put them on our website illaheecommunity.com. We also would like to invite you to our blog site which is on the website or at illaheecommunity.blogspot.com so you respond to these updates and see other responses.

Storm Rainfall We were lucky in Illahee to escape any injuries related to the storm, though we did have plenty of storm water damage. We have a rain reporting station in Illahee which reported 2 inches on Sunday (12/2/07) and 6.4 inches on Monday (12/3/07), and thus we did not receive as much rain as other locations in the county.

Photo Documentary On our website is a photo documentary by John Lind of the washout of Illahee Road (note the photo that shows a person at the bottom of the washout with two people looking down from the road). His writeup of the washout is provided below,

Some said 14 inches fell in 48 hours, others reported 11 inches, and in Illahee it was actually about half of that, but we won’t argue, cause it was enough to inflict considerable damage to the area on that Monday, the 3rd day of December in 2007. Illahee Road had some major problems with near washout at the south end above Rue Villa, a culvert and estuary at Illahee Creek that filled with sediment, and a total road washout at the Gilberton Creek gully, thankfully without the loss of life.

There were several who crossed the roadway just before it blew out. They reported few people on the road at that time (about 1:30 pm) and a water filled upstream gully that was overflowing across Illahee Road about 2 inches deep and at least twenty feet wide.

We decided to walk the area and the path the water took after it washed out the Illahee roadway just northwest of Grahns road where the next curve starts. We climbed and slid down the bank which must have been 50 to 60 feet deep when we reached the bottom. You could hear the water still running in the broken culvert and over the gravel.

Heading down the newly sculpted gully, we climbed around some big cedars that had been nudged over by what we estimated was a “water wall” of 50 feet or so high as it broke through the road bed. As we rounded the first bend you could see about a block ahead the area had widened out to about 40 feet and was still 18 to 20 feet in height where the banks and tree trunks were scarred by the rushing torrent. I think the most extra-ordinary sight was at the next turn where the area became wider than 100 feet and still had scoured the area to 14 feet high. Hugh chunks of 8 inch thick blacktop were strewn downstream, a guard rail was wrapped around a tree trunk, and trees were piled up on the curves so high that a person with a 7 1/2 foot reach couldn’t touch the top logs.

We could just imagine the sounds that must have been heard by the people living in their homes high up on the banks overlooking the gully. Talk about a freight train coming thru the woods! Wow! Some of the walls were scoured so drastically it showed different strata of compressed clay and dirt that probably were formed back in an earlier glacial period. It wasn’t a difficult walk as everything in the gully was washed out into Port Orchard Bay. As we rounded the last bend and could make out the water up ahead we realized that we were walking on mud flats where the tides were already working to reclaim the land.

Now the big questions are: What will replace the washed out roadway, and when will we be able to drive from Illahee to Brownsville again?

John Lind

One thought on “>Storm Report #1 – 1/24/08

  1. >Nice video artistry with still shots!There were no houses in the path of the washout, and no one was crossing the road when it let loose. We were lucky. What if that had happened to Illahee Road in the slide area above Rue Villa? There are houses downstream of that gully. We were lucky that roadway did not give way.And we have been told the Illahee Creek culvert filled up with sediment. Guess we were lucky the rain stopped when it did. Tell us what is being done to make sure we don’t have a future washout there!Thanks for all your updates, although it seems a little late for ‘storm reports’ from December.

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