Editor’s note: This is a live account of weather updates from Monday, Nov. 15, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated.
With the Seattle area in for another round of gusty rain and heavy winds, the region faces potential power outages and flooding today.
The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory through 4 p.m. for Seattle, Bremerton, Tacoma and areas of the Hood Canal.
The strongest winds, which could reach 60 mph, are expected near the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the shores of Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties.
Several flood warnings are in effect throughout the region.
We’re updating this page with the latest news about the weather and its effects on the Seattle area.
Bus carried into ditch after driving through flooded Burlington road
A bus full of passengers got carried in flood water into a ditch on Highway 11 and Sam Bell Road in Burlington Monday night.
The bus driver drove into the closed-off area despite a street closure sign, according to Washington State Patrol Trooper Rocky Oliphant.
No injuries were reported.
The Washington State Emergency Management reminded the public on Twitter to heed street closures and not risk their safety.
U.S. Coast Guard assists rescue of 10 people
Clallam County first responders, aided by the U.S. Coast Guard, rescued 10 adults and four children Monday morning from a flooding residential area in Forks
Rising flood waters and excessive currents prevented the use of swift water boats and prompted county officials to request Coast Guard assistance around 8 a.m., according to a news release.
A helicopter crew from the Coast Guard Air Station in Port Angeles arrived around 9:40 a.m. and sent out rescue swimmers to search homes, but found no individuals.
At around 11 a.m. a crew from Sector Columbia River in Warrenton, Oregon, helped evacuate 10 people from multiple residences in the area and took them to receive medical assistance, according to the news release.
Gov. Jay Inslee declares severe weather emergency in 14 counties
In response to severe wind and heavy rainstorms causing flooding and landslides, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a severe weather emergency in 14 Western Washington counties on Monday, including King County.
Inslee's order directs state agency and department officials to use state resources to assist affected counties, cities and other political subdivisions respond to and recover from events.
The other counties under the governor's state of emergency order include:
- Grays Harbor
- San Juan
These storms are creating hazardous conditions for residents and could damage homes, property, businesses, agriculture, transportation systems, and harm the economy, a news release from the Office of the Governor states.
Interstate 5 near Bellingham closed overnight in both directions
Officials closed off Interstate 5 near Bellingham in both directions overnight because of heavy flooding and active slides, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Northbound I-5 will be closed at Nulle Road and Southbound I-5 will be closed at North Lake Samish, according to WSDOT. Crews will be onsite near these closures as well as in other areas affected by slides and flooding. No detour routes were available due to continued flooding on Highway 11 and other city roads.
Officials will reassess closures in the morning.
Tips to prepare for heavy rain and flooding in Seattle area
Tips from 'Take Winter by Storm' for heavy rains and flooding, as well as checklists (available in multiple languages) to help prepare for extreme weather, are available here.
Take Winter by Storm is a program aimed at raising community awareness about the hazards of stormy weather. The program offers preparedness tips and checklists to prepare for winter weather hazards. The checklists can help plan how to be ready to take care of yourself and those around you (including pets) for days.
How to prepare for Seattle-area storms
Here’s a list of resources to monitor how the stormy weather impacts the region including information on live forecasts, school schedule changes and service changes for drivers and commuters.
A 'sopping wet' walk to class at UW
Alex Davidson, 20, is a student at the University of Washington. He said the rain and winds have been torrential — not like the usually light drizzle Seattle sees.
He spent the weekend re-watching Harry Potter movies and drinking a lot of hot chocolate, he said.
Winds are loud and make the street signs bang around, he said. He noticed that at one point, the rain was going sideways.
When he went outside to go to class and study in the library on Monday, all the water pooled on the streets and sidewalks left his feet “sopping wet.”
Bellingham airport COVID testing site closed due to weather
Extreme weather has forced a two-day closure of the drive-through COVID-19 testing site at the Bellingham International Airport, the Whatcom County Health Department announced Monday.
The site was closed Monday and will be closed again Tuesday, according to a news release, which said testing site equipment was damaged due to the weather.
A state of emergency is declared throughout Whatcom County Sunday with flooding in the region to last several days. Multiple rescues occurred Monday with stranded residents, as well as at least three mudslides that forced road closures.
Washington Emergency Management Division shares tips on how to prepare
With windy conditions throughout the region, the Washington Emergency Management Division shared a few tips to stay prepared on Twitter.
Whidbey Island Naval Air Station rescue crews help three stranded people
Search and Rescue teams from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station rescued three people caught in flood waters Monday.
The rescue crew was notified shortly before 9 a.m. of a car with two occupants that was half-submerged on the Skagit River near Marblemount, according to a news release.
The crew learned while heading to the scene that the two people were rescued by local responders, but that a second vehicle was submerged in the Cape Horn neighborhood.
Two people in the car were helped moved to higher ground, as well as another individual near Rockport found clinging to a tree in rising waters, the release stated.
The man told crew members he had been in the water for several hours. He was treated for exposure and left to receive medical care at Mears Field in Concrete, according to the release.
'This atmospheric river needs to knock it off:' Mount Vernon resident makes a plan in case flooding worsens
Raymond Ulrich, 39, is worried about his basement apartment, which is about a half mile away from the river in Mount Vernon.
"I was just driving down by the river and they have the flood gates put in. It's a little unsettling," he said.
Ulrich has lived in Mount Vernon on and off, and most recently, the last seven years. He's never seen nonstop rain and the river so high like this, he said.
His plan in case things get worse, he said, is to gather the two cats he adopted during the pandemic along with valuables like his passport and an heirloom shotgun from his uncle and stay at a friend's house. He said he hopes he won't have to use renters insurance.
"This atmospheric river needs to knock it off," he said.
Deputies rescue stranded residents in parts of Whatcom County
Whatcom County sheriff deputies were helping stranded residents evacuate in Everson.
Shortly after 12:30 p.m., WCSO posted a photo of deputies in a rescue vehicle in a flooded neighborhood with water past the level of tires on vehicles stranded on the street.
A state of emergency was declared throughout Whatcom County Sunday evening due to flooding, which county officials said they expect to be similar to the 2020 Super Bowl flood, with many of the same areas to be impacted for the next several days.
Residents in Everson, Nooksack and Sumas have been advised to prepare for high water and to stay home to avoid driving. Downtown Sumas was flooded Monday with all roads in and out of the town closed.
Those driving past a road-closed sign, WCSO reminded the public, could face a $500 fine.
Residents are asked to prepare to evacuate if flood conditions worsen.
158,600 customers without power statewide
158,600 customers in Washington were without power as of 2:16 p.m.
4,773 customers in Whatcom County
6,587 customers in Skagit County
9,245 customers in Snohomish County
38,560 customers in King County
34,883 customers in Island County
2,593 customers in Clallam County
6,542 customers in Jefferson County
4,234 customers in Kitsap County
21,614 customers in Pierce County
23,223 customers in Thurston County
1,408 customers in Lewis County
3,111 customers in Yakima County
Puget Sound Energy reported 613 outages with 118,140 customers in the dark, as of 2:23 p.m.
Tacoma Public Utilities reported 4,303 customers without power as of 2:16 p.m.
The Snohomish Public Utility District said 17,553 in its district were without power as of 2:29 p.m.
How to get through a power outage
Follow these tips to help get through a power outage:
- Have a power-outage kit that includes flashlights and batteries, glow-in-the-dark sticks, a lantern, matches, a wind-up clock, a portable radio, a Mylar blanket and a can opener.
- To avoid deadly carbon-monoxide poisoning, keep generators outdoors when they’re running. Make sure the exhaust is not near a window or other opening to the home. Keep the exhaust and muffler away from combustible material.
- Never burn charcoal indoors. Charcoal produces toxic fumes that can kill quickly. Use this multi-language page to help warn your neighbors.
- Use hot water sparingly.
How to get alerts about emergencies in Washington state
A key part of being prepared is being aware of emergencies and natural disasters happening near you, including winter storms, flooding, earthquakes and, yes, even tornados in the Pacific Northwest.
Be in the know and stay informed as situations unfold by signing up for various real-time alerts that can help you take potentially life-saving actions.
Here are several ways to get emergency alerts from federal, state and local authorities.
Heavy rain brings flooding; evacuations for town of Hamilton
The heavy rainfall of recent days will bring major flooding of the Skagit River that will continue into at least Monday evening.
A state of emergency for the town of Hamilton was declared Sunday afternoon by the Skagit County Unified Command, according to a Skagit County press release. Flood sirens first sounded at noon Sunday, and people living in the Hamilton area were urged to evacuate as soon as possible, the Skagit Valley Herald reported.
U.S. Coast Guard assisting with evacuations west of Forks
The U.S. Coast Guard is assisting local authorities with evacuating residents west of Forks, near Highway 110, the Coast Guard said on Twitter. There are reports of around 10 people in danger, the Coast Guard said. No injuries have been reported.
77,009 customers without power statewide
About 77,000 customers in Washington were without power as of 11:02 a.m.
1,041 customers in Whatcom County, 46,830 customers in King County, 4,997 customers in Skagit County, 243 customers in Island County, 9,257 customers in Pierce County, 6,101 customers in Kitsap County, 6,653 customers in Thurston County, 352 customers in Lewis County and 1,087 customers in Clark County were without power.
Puget Sound Energy reported 319 outages with 57,213 customers in the dark, as of 11:18 a.m.
Tacoma Public Utilities reported 4,921 customers without power, as of 11:16 a.m.
The Snohomish Public Utility District said 1,279 in its district were without power as of 11:24 a.m.
Nearly 5,000 customers without power on Vashon and Maury Island
An outage on Vashon and Maury Islands has left nearly 5,000 customers without power, according to Puget Sound Energy.
Crews are in damage assessment mode and will begin restoration effort as soon as it is safe to do so, PSE spokesperson Andrew Padula said shortly after 11 a.m.
But repairs can't begin, he said, with "really active wind." High water or debris on roads can be challenges for crews, which can delay efforts, he added.
Continuing winds can also mean customers who have their power restored could have it knocked out again.
How do you stay sane during the wet, grey Seattle winter? Tell us.
Winter is right around the corner, and it’s no secret that this season of short days and long nights (and let’s not forget the cold weather!) causes some to feel the winter blues.
As we gear up for another wet, grey Pacific Northwest winter, we want to know: How do you stay sane and keep your spirits up during the rainy months? Do you try to live with friluftsliv in mind? Is there a certain activity you do that keeps you moving until the warmer months, or a tried-and-true method to lengthen those short days? Tell us!
We’re gathering submissions to compile a list of reader recommendations for beating the winter blues. If you have a recommendation, please fill out the form in the story here.
How to keep your phone charged and useful
A smartphone can be a lifeline in a natural disaster, connecting you instantly to assistance and real-time resources. Unfortunately, many disasters like wildfires, floods, earthquakes and hurricanes take out the exact things phones rely on to do that work: electricity and cell services.
If you’re preparing for, in the midst of, or recovering from a disaster, here are some of the best ways you can get your phone in the best shape to help you: From making a charge last as long as possible, to finding the right information online.
Seattle Public Schools implements indoor lunch plans
Due to high winds, Seattle Public Schools said that schools that normally use lunch tents will be implementing their indoor lunch plans on Monday. Health protocols from the Department of Health will be followed.
25,000 customers without power statewide
About 28,000 customers in Washington were without power as of 9:20 a.m.
784 customers in Whatcom County, 5,753 customers in Skagit County, 582 customers in San Juan County, 1,132 customers in Island County, 7,017 customers in King County, 853 customers in Jefferson County, 194 customers in Pierce County and 494 customers in Lewis County were without power.
As of 9 a.m., Orcas Power and Light reported that 582 customers were without power.
Puget Sound Energy reported 263 outages with 27,341 customers in the dark, as of 9:42 a.m.
PSE reported several outages encompassing all of Vashon and Maury Island with at least 4,896 customers without power as of 8:40 a.m.
The Snohomish Public Utility District said 361 in its district were without power as of 9:30 a.m.
Several roadways closed
Several roadways have water over them and are closed. The Washington Department of Transportation is reminding drivers to prioritize safety and not drive through any closures.
All Bellingham schools closed Monday
All Bellingham schools are closed Monday due to flooding, the district said on Twitter.
12,115 customers without power statewide
About 12,000 customers in Washington were without power as of 7:11 a.m.
754 customers in Whatcom County, 2,504 customers in Skagit County, 2,894 customers in San Juan County, 1,907 customers in Island County, 828 customers in King County, 737 customers in Jefferson County, 291 customers in Pierce County and 493 customers in Lewis County were without power.
As of 7:11 a.m., Orcas Power and Light reported that 2,894 customers were without power.
Puget Sound Energy reported 113 outages with 11,101 customers in the dark, as of 7:27 a.m.
The Snohomish Public Utility District said 1,092 in its district were without power as of 7:32 a.m.
Hamilton residents urged to evacuate
People in Hamilton in Skagit County are being urged to evacuate due to flood risks.
N Line service canceled Monday
Sound Transit canceled its Sounder commuter train service between Everett and Seattle for Monday because of the “expected high level of rainfall in the forecast with the potential for landslide activity,” Sound Transit said in a rider alert. The agency encouraged riders to take ST Express Route 510 instead, along with other bus routes.
Power outages and flooding expected as rain, wind hit
As if last week’s wild weather wasn’t enough, the Seattle area is in for another round of gusty rain and potential power outages on Monday.
The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory through 4 p.m., warning of southwest winds between 15 and 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph. The advisory was issued for Seattle, Bremerton, Tacoma and areas of the Hood Canal.
The strongest winds, which could reach 60 mph, are expected near the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the shorelines of Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties.
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