The break, in the 900 block of 110th Avenue Southeast in Bellevue, sent thousands of gallons of water gushing down the streets. It mixed with torrential rainfall, ripping earth and rocks from the yards of some homes in the Surrey Downs neighborhood.
Three homes were flooded, including one with about three feet of water in the basement. About 25 other homes were without water.
Bellevue fire officials say the water main broke around 3 a.m. and crews were able to shut it off at about 5:30 a.m. The city expects to replace 18 feet of water main, clean up the mess and restore service by the end of the day.
Patrick Moran says he first noticed a problem when he heard a rattling sound at around 3 a.m. He found nothing wrong inside the house, but then his wife opened the front door and he said it sounded "like an aircraft engine."
"The water was blowing out about 10 feet straight across, about 10 feet into the road - all the debris out there," he says. "I walked out to the end of the road. It was about up to your knee."
Crews dug down to the buried water main and said it appeared to be a type of break called a "blowout."
While crews fix the broken main, several homeowners in the neighborhood are learning how to live without water service.
"We're going to go to the Bellevue Club and take showers," said one.