Updates from Wednesday on the major weather event sweeping across the Puget Sound area.
King County reports that the Snoqualmie River has reached flood phase four (“severe”), with the worst flooding near Carnation. There is moderate flooding on the Green River, and minor flooding on the Cedar River. See King County’s Flood Warnings and Alerts page for more details.
Cowlitz County has declared an emergency due to flooding. The downtown area of Kalama was evacuated Tuesday night. Some four blocks Wednesday morning were in the flood zone as water mixed with sewage pooled to 30 inches deep, according to Randy Gibson, Kalama’s police chief. The flood waters penetrated about 12 downtown buildings, including the police station and town hall. “There is some serious damage,” Gibson said.
The Snoqualmie River is running brown, fast and high past downtown Fall City. Trees on both banks are partly submerged, with eddies swirling around their trunks. Large trees are being washed downstream. Between Fall City and Interstate 90, the Raging River is living up to its name, running even faster, frothing as it carries rain runoff toward the town.
Skagit River: The river crested at 1:45 a.m. Wednesday in Concrete and is falling. In Mount Vernon, it’s not expected to crest until 10 p.m. Wednesday. Two emergency shelters are set up: St. Catherine Catholic Mission, 45603 Limestone St., Concrete; and Hamilton First Baptist Church, 797 Hamilton Cemetery Road, Sedro-Woolley.
Puyallup River waters are rising. Seven homeless people were successfully rescued without injuries Wednesday morning when they were swept off a bank where they were camping and into the river. Meanwhile, residents of the Riverview RV Park in the 1000 block of East Main Street in Puyallup were being evacuated at 9 a.m. after some residents were stranded in several feet of water, according to police and fire.
Sound Transit said Northline Sounder service between Seattle and Everett will remain closed Thursday due to wet ground and stormy weather. A mudslide Monday night cancelled passenger service on Tuesday and Wednesday, and now maintenance crews hope to resume service Friday morning.
Highway 162 is closed both directions from milepost 17.3 near Northwest Washington Street to milepost 12.6 near Patterson Road.
Highway 2 is closed west of Leavenworth, due to a mudslide, and may remain closed for several days. There is a detour for cars only, not commercial vehicles.
Highway 141 is closed near Trout Lake.
Highway 12 (White Pass) is closed from Highway 123 to near Naches.
Highway 507 is closed in both directions at milepost 7 near O’Conner Road until further notice. A signed detour is available.
Josh Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle, said on Wednesday afternoon that the week’s heaviest rains were over. The weather system that brought flooding to many of the region’s rivers featured rains, gusty winds, some hail and a thunderstorm that was “a grand finale to all the rains that happened yesterday and overnight.”
Smith said the moderate to major flooding was “fairly rare” and that most affected rivers would have crested by the end of the day Wednesday with a few exceptions, most notably the Chehalis River, which is expected to reach its peak later this week.
“We will have a few more rainy systems that move in through the rest of this week and into the weekend, but we’re not expecting them to cause major flooding,” he said. Any further precipitation this week will likely fall as snow, and not rain, at the mountain passes and higher elevations, he said.
The Puget Sound Energy power outage map shows that 27,613 customers are without power at 1:35 p.m. Wednesday, many of them south of Seattle in the Kent, Auburn and Covington areas.
Seattle City Light said there were numerous outages in South Seattle Wednesday morning. As of 1:40 p.m., only 85 customers were still without power. For details, see SCL’s outage map.
Snohomish County PUD reported scattered outages overnight affecting about 5,000 customers at various times. Near 8 a.m., crews were working in Sultan to restore power to 500 customers.
A slide as deep as 10 feet has blocked Highway 2 in both directions west of Leavenworth; it is unstable and the road will be closed for a few days, according to the State Patrol. No injuries have been reported. There is a detour for cars only (not commercial vehicles) on the Chumstick Highway.
A mudslide in Burien on Tuesday night destroyed one home, damaged another, pushed one car into Puget Sound and led to the evacuation of five additional homes, according to officials. There were no reported injuries from the slide that occurred near Standring Lane Southwest; however, officials urged people to avoid the area until the ground is stabilized. They also said residents of nearby homes have been informed of the situation.
In Cowlitz County, a series of mudslides caused major problems for residents who live along the Kalama River Road, according to Randy Gibson, Kalama’s police chief. On Tuesday, one person was injured and a house along the road was damaged by the slide, according to an official with Cowlitz County Emergency Operations Center. The road was closed to traffic on Wednesday morning.
SCHOOL SCHEDULES WEDNESDAY
Closures, due to flooding and/or power outages: Cleveland High School in the Seattle School District is closed. In the Bellevue District, Odle Middle School, Jing Mei Elementary and Newport Heights Elementary are closed. Also closed: Riverview District (Carnation, Duvall); Snoqualmie Valley; Tahoma; Bethel (Pierce County); Morton; Orting; White Pass; White River; North River. In the Franklin Pierce School District, Gates High School and New Pathways School are closed.
Two-hour late start: Kent School District; Lake Quinault; Taholah.
Seattle schools are running on time, despite multiple power outages Wednesday (including Aki Kurose, Alki, Maple, Graham Hill and MLK).
Sound Transit reports, “Due to flash flood warnings on the south corridor, all trains between Lakewood and Seattle will be operating at reduced speed. Therefore all trains are expected to be approximately 20 minutes late.”
Northline Sounder service between Seattle and Everett has been canceled at least through early Thursday.