April 10, 2019 (Moscow, Idaho) — The City of Moscow would like to recognize the great work done by employees, volunteers, and citizens yesterday afternoon and last night (and into the early morning hours) in responding to the floodwaters. There are many examples of these individuals going above and beyond, whether clearing storm drains and keeping the stream channels open, monitoring and managing the massive amount of water at the Water Reuse and Reclamation Facility, controlling access on flooded streets or filling sandbags for residents and neighbors to use to keep the floodwaters from their homes.
From a public safety perspective, the use of social media in addition to dispatch services worked flawlessly. City of Moscow Fire Department staff and Moscow Volunteer Fire Department personnel managed calls for service related to flooding, medical calls, electrical issues, gas leaks, and road closures. Officers of the Moscow Police Department provided support by checking on areas affected by flooding and street closures. Officers worked through the night directing heavy traffic flows out of Moscow while handling emergency calls related to flood issues. All public safety personnel also continued to respond to calls that were not flood related.
Mayor Bill Lambert wishes to thank community volunteers who helped out by filling sandbags, checking on neighbors and reporting issues. “These volunteers represent what makes our community great. When our citizens need help, our friends and neighbors answer the call. My hat is off to these volunteers.” He also noted that many City of Moscow employees didn’t go home until residents’ property and personal safety were secured. As a result, many employees didn’t get off shift until very late last night or early this morning.
Flood preparedness and preparation, coupled with established disaster response procedures and many public infrastructure improvements (such as the overflow channel along Mountain View Road adjacent to the Moscow School District Community Playfields) made since the historic 1996 flood, also helped to mitigate and reduce damage to property and ensured the safety of Moscow’s citizens.
City officials continuously monitor weather services and had expected the light-to-moderate rain experienced in the previous days, but the continuous heavy rains yesterday were not predicted or anticipated. With the soils already saturated from the previous days' rain, the volume received yesterday quickly ran off into Paradise Creek and the South Fork of the Palouse River, overcoming the capacity of City storm drains. In many areas of town, storm drains were filled to over-capacity, and water was coming up through the utility-hole covers because the amount of water was more than the system could handle in such a short period of time. Measurements of Paradise Creek indicated that the magnitude of water moving through the creek during this event exceeded the flood of 1996.
Mayor Bill Lambert issued a Disaster Emergency proclamation this morning, allowing the City to seek state and federal assistance to help offset local costs of the flood response and damage to the City’s infrastructure.