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Weather in the Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest is known for severe weather at times, from heavy rainstorms, strong winds and heavy snowfall.

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Local News
03/06/14

Heavy rains create instant lakes: Fields flooded, roads closed

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One driver tried to maneuver through a park parking lot along the Tolt River near Carnation, but his SUV ended up stuck in several feet of water. The driver was all right. (Photo: John Hopperstad/KCPQ-TV)

CARNATION, Wash. — Tom Smarsh moved to Carnation three years ago to be closer to his grandchildren, but a friend living in Washington had a warning.

“He didn’t want me to buy property and not know about the flooding they have,” Smarsh said Thursday.

But over the years, flooding has been minimal — until now.

“I have not seen the water that deep, especially going across the road,” Smarsh said.

Many low-lying areas around Carnation are under water. What is normally a cornfield looks like a lake now.

Local wildlife loves it. It expands their habitat, but drivers are not so excited.

One driver tried to maneuver through a park parking lot along the Tolt River, but his SUV ended up stuck in several feet of water. The driver was all right.

Not far away, the Snoqualmie River swallowed a truck. That driver was also fine, but it took crews several hours to finally pull it out.

“The rivers are doing what they’re designed, in a sense, to do,” said Ken Carter, Carnation city manager. “They’re carrying water from the mountains to the Sound.”

Carter has  been through devastating floods in the past, some that cut off the town.

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The Snoqualmie River swallowed this pickup truck near Carnation. That driver was OK, but it took crews several hours to finally pull his truck out. (Photo: KCPQ-TV)

He said that so far, what he’s seen is not unusual for this time of year, as long as people don’t drive through road closures or over standing water.

A flood warning for the Snoqualmie continues through Friday night.

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. — Last weekend’s wild storms left one family with a big mess on their hands.  A huge tree fell across their yard, damaging their roof and totaling their car.

pt storm dmgThey say it all could have been avoided if their neighbor just cut down the tree before the storms hit.

“I think I’m still in shock,” homeowner Gloria Salzano said Wednesday. “I knew it was going to happen but I can’t believe it happened.”

Gloria Salzano and Vance Morse woke up to a huge rumble early Saturday morning.

Their van was destroyed, and now a blue tarp on the roof is all that keeps the rain out of their home. The tree that fell sits on their neighbor’s property and Salzano says she’s tried everything to get it removed.

Salzano says her letters and emails to the neighbor have gotten her nowhere.

The neighbor didn’t want to go on-camera but she claims to have spent more than $6,000 trimming the massive cedar – and she even had the tree cabled to secure the massive limbs.

But last weekend’s storms brought them down anyway.

“I wanted her to do the right thing,” said Vance. “I wanted her to take the thing down before it comes down and kills her, kills that neighbor or kills us.”

Gloria and Vance’s homeowner’s insurance will cover the damage to their van and their roof – but coming up with the $1,500 to cover the deductible will be tough.

They are both disabled and on a fixed-income.

They’re now hoping other homeowners will come up with a plan to deal with large trees before they come falling down.

“What I see is something that could have been prevented,” said Salzano.

The state insurance commissioner says your homeowners policy should cover damage to structures, vehicles, or if the tree falls in your driveway.

But if a tree lands somewhere else on your property, you’ll likely have to pay out of pocket to remove it yourself.

Local News
11/15/13

Heavy mountain snowfall to slow travelers

STEVENS PASS — Heavy snowfall for several hours could lead to dangerous driving conditions for thousands of people planning to drive through the Cascade Mountain passes this weekend.

passMeteorologists expect 12-18” of snowfall before 6 a.m. Saturday. Strong winds will also impact visibility.  The snow level will be at or below 2,500 feet and Stevens, Snoqualmie and White passes will all be affected. Drivers are advised to use caution.

Early Friday morning, traction tires were already advised for travelers making their way through Stevens pass.

The snow levels will be at or below 2,500 feet and all mountain passes will be impacted.

If you plan on taking trip over any of the passes you should bring chains, a supply of food and water and a fully charged cell phone.

Local News
11/07/13

Fall storm whips into Western Washington

SEATTLE — Utility crews are on stand-by across the state as the winds have been picking up speed all afternoon.

Seattle Department of Transportation crews have also been working all day clearing leaves from storm drains to prevent flooding. Armed with leaf blowers and a giant hose, crews are trying to get as many leaves off the streets as possible.

shovel“Herding them into a pile and sucking them up,” said Kim Rhodes with the Seattle Department of Transportation. “It just takes longer when it’s wet.”

Last weekend’s winds toppled trees all over and knocked out power to thousands. Hopefully, things won’t get that bad this time.

“We’re anticipating that there could be some small, scattered outages,” said Scott Thomsen with Seattle City Light. “Our crews are ready to respond if they’re needed.”

Families are urged to keep a stash of candles and check the batteries in their flashlights before the power flickers.

“This year moved straight from summer right into stormy conditions,” said Thomsen. “The long-term forecasts indicate we could have heavy continued storms into the winter.”

Puget Sound Energy is still working to get around 2,000 customers reconnected after an outage on Bainbridge Island.

ferrucciPUYALLUP — Ferrucci Junior High School students will attend school at Emerald Ridge High on Wednesday as work continues to clean up the junior high that got flooded in last week’s rainstorm.

On Wednesday morning, buses will pick up Ferrucci Junior High students at their regular bus stops and take them to Emerald Ridge High School.  Students who normally walk to school or are dropped-off by parents will take a shuttle bus from Ferrucci Junior High School to Emerald Ridge High.  These same students will be returned to Ferrucci Junior High at the end of the school day.

Following last week’s rain storm, wall board has been removed between classrooms to facilitate better air flow.  Water damaged ceiling tiles and wallboard have been removed.  All air in the building has been “scrubbed” (replaced with clean air) using industrial quality fans and ventilation systems.  However, the air quality is not acceptable, according to industrial hygienists.

Students will follow a modified schedule on Wednesday.  September 11 is Fair Day in the Puyallup School District.   All students are released 3 ¼ hours early from school on this day.

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Mudslide closes off State Route 410 in Yakima County. (Photo: WSDOT)

SEATTLE — Mudslides from Thursday’s heavy rainstorms closed two passes over Washington’s Cascades and also buried several parked cars and trucks in the community of Stehekin at Lake Chelan, authorities said Friday.

Rocks and mud covered Highway 20 — the North Cascades Highway — in several locations and the road was shut down between mileposts 147 and 171, the Washington State Department of Transportation said.

Mudslides also closed State Route 410 — the Chinook Pass Highway — about nine miles west of the junction of U.S. 12, near Naches, the department said.

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Vehicles in a long-term parking lot at the mouth of Imus Creek at Lake Chelan were buried by a rock and mudslide, the North Cascades National Park said.

Meanwhile,  a massive mud and rock slide in the community of Stehekin Thursday night buried many vehicles in the long-term parking area and at the mouth of Imus Creek, at Lake Chelan, the North Cascades National Park said.  Businesses affected were Discovery Bikes and Stehekin Reservations and Fly Fishing Shop. Most of the bicycles were damaged or washed into Lake Chelan and the log cabin office for fly fishing and reservations was surrounded by mud and rocks.

An historic NPS storage shed at the Imus Cabin was filled with water and mud, the storage shed at the Lake House was damaged, and mud encroached on the public laundry building. Gas is currently turned off to that area to reduce the potential for fire. There were no injuries

A mudslide also closed Icicle Road, a popular camping area, about 11 miles west of Leavenworth.  Rain from Thursday night’s thunderstorm washed rocks and woody debris into a 4-foot-wide culvert on Icicle Road, near the Fourth of July Trailhead, clogging the culvert and diverting water flow across the road, the U.S. Forest Service said.

photoSEATTLE — Students at a Puyallup school got an early start to the weekend after flooding forced classes to be canceled Friday.

Puyallup School District spokesman Brian Fox said 12 classrooms at Ferrucci Junior High were flooded and the district canceled classes for Friday.

A janitor discovered the flooding sometime after 6 a.m. Fox said many students had already arrived at school before the flooding was discovered. Those students were then moved to the school’s commons area where it was dry and safe.

Officials said clogged drains on the roof caused the flooding.

School workers began contacting parents and buses to have students taken home. The last of the students went home around 9 a.m.

The school is expected to open again Monday, Fox said.

SEATTLE — Standing water on the roadway and small stream flooding are the main concerns this morning as rain continues throughout the day.  Rain should taper off this evening. Highs upper 60s.

It looks like the thunder and lightning is pretty much done now. Tomorrow looks great!  Morning clouds, afternoon clearing, highs in the low 70s.

Sunday gets mostly sunny and warmer, upper 70s.  Next week it’ll be sunny again with highs near 80!  Summer is not over yet!

Viewer photos of the amazing lightning show yesterday & last night . . .

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Lightning from Gas Works Park. From Sigma in Seattle

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Amazing lightning strikes across Puget Sound. From Karlyn.

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Lightning over Downtown Seattle. From Shannon.

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Cloud to ground lightning in Mount Vernon. From Gail.

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Lightning in Arlington. From Caleb.

SEATTLE — After hours of intense rainfall in Western Washington, road crews went to work blocking off streets Friday morning, impacting the morning commute for thousands.

Road crews reopened Auburn Way SE near 4th street shortly before 5 a.m. after closing that major roadway for hours. Heavy rain collected on Auburn Way SE near highway 18 significantly impacting several motorists.

Crews were able to block the road off before any cars got stuck. Then workers cleared the clogged drainage ditches to allow the water to run off. The road was reopened to traffic just in time for the morning rush. M Street in Auburn was also closed for several hours but is now back open to traffic.

However, other roads across the area remained closed as a small break in the rain brought little respite.

photoChelan County in Eastern Washington had a number of significant road closures. Num. 1 Canyon Road had a large amount of water and mud blocking the roadway, causing a temporary road closure. Tarpiscan Road was damaged by heavy water and debris and closed at Milepost 1/2. Eagle Creek Road, Colockum Road and Icicle Road also had mudslide problems, causing intermittent blocking. Chelan County crews worked to clear the roads by time another set of storms rolled in.

State Route 410 was expected to be closed until Saturday from Milepost 105 to 108 for a mudslide. A detour was available via local roads. Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass was also closed eastbound early Friday morning due to a semi-truck fire.

A sinkhole opened on South 96th Street in unincorporated King County Friday morning. The roadway was closed in both directions at 7:05 a.m. The sinkhole was about 20 feet long and 4 feet deep. Drivers were advised to use 8th Avenue South and Des Moines Memorial drive until the road reopened.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms are expected to continue through late in the day Friday. This weekend, temperatures will again warm up into the 70s, with sunny skies.

Rainfall records across Western Washington were broken Thursday.

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