It’s been a wet start to 2021, and weather officials say Western Washington can expect more of the same as the week continues.
The region has seen a nearly constant downpour since January began, with record rainfall amounts in Seattle, Hoquiam and Olympia, according to the National Weather Service. The latter two, in fact, have broken a record for the wettest first four days of the year — 5.99 inches and 3.69 inches of rain, respectively.
And Seattle, which has received 2.83 inches as of Monday, has already hit about 50% of its normal amount of January rain, the weather service said.
“We’re still within the winter season, so we’re getting our regular dose of rainfall and storms coming in,” said Dr. Mary Butwin, a meteorologist at the NWS’ Seattle office.
Flood warnings remain in place for the Skokomish River at Potlatch, Mason County, and the Chehalis River near Grand Mount and Porter, she said, adding that officials expect the rivers to remain above flood stage for the next few days.
In King County, several roads were closed Monday afternoon because of flooding or slides, according to the county’s road services. Closures include parts of Neal Road Southeast in Fall City, West Snoqualmie River Road Northeast in Carnation and Northeast 165th Street in Woodinville.
“Remember: NEVER drive through flooded roads or go around a closure,” King County Road Services tweeted.
Snoqualmie River near the Falls, which was roaring Monday, reached a volume of 14.4 kcfs (which measures the water flow equivalent to 1,000 cubic feet passing a given point in a second) early Sunday, according to weather service data. When a river level hits 15 kcfs, the weather service says, “some type of mitigation action” must be taken to prepare for significant flooding.
Another round of heavy rain is expected to continue Wednesday, mainly impacting the Olympic and Southwest Washington basins, according to the weather service. The rest of the week will likely see the same, with only some short breaks between showers, Butwin said.
“Things can change quickly with the rivers running high,” she said, “If you leave near a prone area, check the forecast and stay up-to-date.”