Rain floods businesses in downtown Pullman

Rain began to fall around 2 p.m. yesterday; employees, customers stuck in coffee shop for about 40 minutes



Shelby Sater, manager at Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters, tears up the carpet after water flooded into the coffee shop Tuesday evening in downtown Pullman. Other local businesses were also affected along the intersection of Main Street and Southeast Pine Street.

LUKE HUDSON, Evergreen reporter

Pools of dirty water litter the floor and a sopping pile of black carpet squares rest by the door of Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters. An employee points to a moist line of dirt and leaves that runs around the perimeter of the building, marking the highest point rainwater reached inside. Chairs are stacked on top of tables and cloth furniture sits on the second-floor balcony away from the mess below.

Multiple downtown businesses in Pullman were affected by a flood Tuesday afternoon where Main Street and Southeast Pine Street intersect.

When the U.S. National Weather Service issued a flood advisory at 3:04 p.m. for Whitman and Latah counties, Pullman was on the list of cities that could be affected.

“By the time I could do something, the water had already blocked the doors,” said Mercedes Enciso, assistant manager at Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters.

She said the rain began to fall around 2:15 or 2:20 p.m. and by 2:39 p.m. water covered the floor of the shop. Employees and customers could not open the doors to get out and were stuck for about 40 minutes.

“A firefighter here helped move people up to the second floor and directed people to move furniture,” Enciso said.

She said he called his fellow firefighters to help squeegee water out of the store and move furniture.

No food, major appliances or electrical equipment were damaged during the flood, she said.

“Hopefully we will be up and running tomorrow at the usual time,” Enciso said.

Water covers the sidewalk outside Lily Bee’s and Thomas Hammer on Tuesday afternoon in downtown Pullman.

Sarvjid Singh, owner of Power Smoke Shop, said when the rain began to pool outside, he shut the door to the shop and put a towel along the bottom to stop water from getting in.

He said even though the water outside was about 9 inches high, it was only 1 inch deep inside the shop. No appliances or electrical equipment was damaged by the water, he said.

Singh said a person from the health department stopped by to check if any food was ruined, but no one else from the city came. He said he did not call anyone for assistance because so little water made it into the store.

Heavy rains happen every year but they are usually not this bad, he said. It looked like drains on both sides of the street were clogged and water was flowing over from the other side of the street.

Dalton Scott, manager at Taco Del Mar, said the business was not affected but he saw water pooling in the courtyard between the restaurant and Thomas Hammer.

A line of leaves ran around some edges of the courtyard and seemed to indicate how far the water reached. It stretched from the street to just outside the courtyard seating area next to Taco Del Mar.

Lily Bee’s Consignment Shop, Evolve On Main, and Washington Federal Bank appeared to be affected by the flood but declined to comment on the status of cleanup.