Rains easing, rivers cresting or on their way down

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on December 12, 2010 at 10:18 AM

Updated Monday, Dec 13 at 8:46 AM

SEATTLE - The heavy rain has begun to diminish and rivers are beginning to recede or crest.

According to KING 5 meteorologist Rich Marriott, Monday will be much drier than the weekend with only scattered showers but contiued mild temperatures.

The record rainfall over the weekend flooded roads and triggered mudslides in Western Washington. King County road closures.

Many areas around the region picked up anywhere from 3/4" of rain at Whidbey Island to 5.68" at Bremerton on Sunday! Since midnight, SeaTac has recorded 2.20". That's a new daily maximum record.

The Stillaquamish River reached record flood stage Sunday afternoon, tying the record set in November of 2006.  About 230 homes and businesses in Granite Falls near the Stillaguamish River have been asked to evacuate.

Sandbagging efforts in Stanwood, along the Stillaguamish, continued late into Sunday night.

Flood warnings remain in effect on the Green, Skykomish, Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Chehalis, Skokomish, Satsop, Nooksack, Skagit and Stillaguamish rivers.

The State Emergency Operations Center has been activated in response to flooding conditions on several rivers.

County emergency operations centers have been activated in Snohomish, Pierce and Skagit counties.

Snohomish County's Department of Emergency Management is monitoring river levels along the Stillaguamish, Snohomish and Skykomish rivers, as well as tributaries including the Pilchuck River. Saturday night, DEM contacted about 750 homes in the county's river basins, urging them to take precautions.

"We've taken steps to make sure we are prepared to handle this storm and to assist different cities in need," Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon said. "Still, residents should take proper precautions if they live near a waterway."

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Saturday set a rainfall record for the date of 1.42 inches, breaking the old mark for Dec. 11 of 1.32 inches set in 1955.

On the coast, Quillayute also had a record for the date, 2.17 inches. The old record was 1.64 inches, set in 2002.

A recorded flood-information hotline is updated each hour for citizens wanting information in flood areas in King County. The number is 206-296-8200 or 1-800-945-9263. Current flood watches and warnings

Landslide danger high

More than three inches of rain fell in Seattle in a 24-hour period, pushing the area well over the landslide threshold. Seattle Public Utilities said the saturated soil means reduced soil stability and a greatly increased chance of landslides. Seattle landslide information

Seattle property owners with structures that may be affected by or endangered by a landslide should contact a geotechnical professional for structural evaluation.

To help protect yourself and your property from landslides:

  • Inspect sloping areas for indications of slope movement (such as cracks in the ground, and newly tilting trees) and erosion.
  • Check downspouts, to make sure they are functioning and routed to a safe location.
  • Be sure that your irrigation system is shut off.
  • Keep fill and yard waste off slopes.

In Burien, a mudslide sent a beam into a home in the 2400 block of SW 172nd. Firefighters helped three people out of the home. Fortunately, no one was injured.

The rain was the partial cause of a roof collapse at a Seattle Times storage building on Fairview Ave. N. on Saturday night. Investigators say the roof was apparently weakened by the snow storm that hit Puget Sound a few weeks ago. The heavy rain caused the roof to collapse in the middle.

Heavy rain caused a landslide in Skykomish that blocked both directions at milepost 44 on U.S. Highway 2. Washington State Patrol Trooper Keith Leary said the debris was about 2-to-3 feet deep.

A rockslide blocks all northbound and southbound lanes on Chuckanut Drive (SR 11) just north of Legg Road. The road will be closed all weekend for the clean-up.

Amtrak Cascades train service has been canceled between Seattle and Portland through Monday due to slides. Northline Sounder commuter train service between Seattle and Everett will not be available on Monday due to slides.

King County officials say a wastewater overflow occurred in Seattle's Meadowbrook Park when torrential rains forced high volumes of stormwater and wastewater into the sewer lines. The water's force blew open a concrete block over a sediment trap, causing wastewater to spill into the park.

The park has been closed to the public while crews work on clean-up.

Employees were also following up on reports of an overflow from the Cascade Siphon in Renton, as well as odor complaints near the Bellevue Pump Station.

Corps of Engineers spotters at work

Patricia Graeser with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says 26 flood fight team members are out, coordinating with local officials to make sure they are prepared to assist where needed.

"We've got what we call 'river spotters,' guys and gals walking the river in Sumner and Pacific, the areas of concern there," she said. "We've supplied a couple of pumps to the town of Orting."

Graeser said the area that got hit first was the Olympic Peninsula.

"We've taken over control of the Wynoochee Dam and we've cut the outflows there to basically nothing," she said. "They're getting inflows right now that are looking to maybe match record inflows there so that's one hot spot for sure."

Heavy rain to ease up

The storm system is described as a "plume of very moist, warm Pacific air." Its relative warmth brought rain, not snow, into the Cascades, causing large runoff from the mountains, feeding and overwhelming rivers and creeks on the lowlands. Check latest forecast
   
The rain will begin tapering off from north to south this afternoon and into the evening.

"A cold front will slide through the region and that will bring the steady rain to an end. I'm expecting to see scattered showers by tonight," said KING 5 Meteorologist Jim Guy.

Guy says a strong cold front will move in late Monday night into Tuesday morning for another round of rain and windy conditions.

"There may even be enough energy in the atmosphere for a few thundershowers," he said.

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