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Summer's over

Oak Harbor Police Officer Dickinson stand in water as he directs traffic Monday afternoon. - Jim Larsen
Oak Harbor Police Officer Dickinson stand in water as he directs traffic Monday afternoon.
— image credit: Jim Larsen

Oak Harbor was greeted with a prelude to winter Monday when a deluge temporarily forced the closure of Highway 20 downtown between Burger King and Mi Casita restaurant.

The city measured half an inch of rain in a two-hour period. While not torrential, the downpour overtaxed the stormwater drainage system which wasn’t quite ready for winter to arrive. After all, it’s still summer until Sept. 23.

The outfall downtown handles much of the city’s runoff, from Goldie Road and Midway all the way to the beach, according to Bob Jarski, Public Works operations manager.

When all that runoff reached the bottom, the city’s two storm drains in the area weren’t quite ready to handle the load. One was in the process of being cleaned out, and the other wasn’t fully opened. High tide coincided with the rain, and that stemmed the outflow as well.

These factors combined resulted in foot-deep water on the highway. Traffic was stopped momentarily, then trucks and cars were allowed to slowly crawl down the road.

The flood happened quickly and onlookers were surprised to see water spraying into the air.

“It blew the manhole cover off,” Jarski said. “There was a one-and-a-half foot geyser coming out.”

Parking lots in adjoining businesses were flooded but no damage was done. The flood was short-lived and a city crew quickly cleaned the roadway and parking lots.

With the flood gone, everyone could go back to getting ready for winter.

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