SKAGIT COUNTY, WA - If Mike and Velda Thrams’ home in Hamilton, Washington, was not elevated, they would not have moved into it last June. And if it had not been elevated by its previous owner following the 1995 flood, it would be as flooded and unlivable as the house next door. Because on the following October, the Puget Sound area suffered the worst single-day rainfall the state had seen in more than 100 years. “I’m very happy about our home,” said Mrs. Thrams. “We wouldn’t have bought this house if it wasn’t [elevated] this high. We may have lost a motorcycle and the back deck was dislodged, but our belongings and our house are fine.” The Thrams had closed on the house only a few weeks before the flood.
According to Mrs. Thrams, the elevated town museum (formally the city hall) across the street also “looks good.” The museum had been part of a FEMA elevation project. Owing to the elevation of the museum and the Thrams’ house, both structures stayed dry.
In addition, the land now used for the city park across the street from the museum used to be occupied by several flood-prone homes. Another FEMA mitigation project allowed for the purchase and destruction of these homes and the formation of the existing park. This too avoided a great deal of damage from the recent flooding that would have occurred to those homes had they not been removed.
The rental house next door to the Thrams was flooded and unoccupied, said Mrs. Thrams. That was the fate of many other homes in the Thrams’ neighborhood – a view from their elevated home that makes its point.