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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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SEATTLE — Unusually heavy thunderstorms, accompanied by nonstop lightning and strong winds, slammed Western Washington Thursday night and early Friday and promised to make the morning commute a mess.


A lightning show off Camano Island, Wash. (Photo by Alix McClurken, Camano Island)

No confirmed injuries were immediately reported, except for a motorcyclist who had been hit by lightning earlier in the day while riding down Interstate 5 and who received only minor injuries.

The extent of the damage left by the storms would likely not be evident until the morning’s light, but some was clear before night fell Thursday. Seattle did not start feeling the brunt of the storms until about midnight.

The Washington State Department of Transportation said several mudslides had closed State Route 410 about nine miles west of U.S. 12 near Naches, west of Yakima.

Streets were flooded in the city of Wenatchee, according to The Wenatchee World, which added there were reports of a tree falling on a house in the Orondo area and two people being injured. Houses were also flooded, the paper said.

In the city of Centralia, 1.80 inches of rain had fallen in a six-hour period, the National Weather Service said. For comparison, normal rain for Seattle for the entire month of September is 1.50 inches.

And lightning lit up the skies over the entire state of Washington. At one point, the National Weather Service in Seattle said there had been 529 lightning strikes in one hour over Western Washington, from Lewis County northward.

In the city of Shelton, about 50 miles west of Tacoma, lightning felled trees, one of which fell on the roof of the Fairmont Cove Apartment building. Another strike damaged the Mountain View Elementary School in Shelton. No injuries were reported in either case.

Lightning was also believed responsible for knocking out Peninsula Light Co. transmission stations, leaving 24,000 customers in Gig Harbor and on the Key Peninsula without power for about two hours.

Seattle did not start feeling the brunt of the storms until about midnight. But the storms were expected to last in the Seattle area until the morning commute.

SHELTON — People living in and around Shelton for decades say it was one of the worst thunder and lightning storms they’ve ever seen.

“There was this gigantic, gigantic boom, kind of made me go, oh no,” Shelton resident Barb Everson said.

Shelton Lightning StrikeThe storm rolled into town early Thursday afternoon and a second followed.

Deafening claps of thunder followed by lightning — a lot of lightning — and rain, too.

That quickly led to power outages.

About 1,800 PUD customers without power kept line crews busy for hours.

“Couple of strikes kept getting closer and the house started shaking.  Strike must have hit on the power grid and we were out of power,” Shelton resident Brad Hanson said.

Flora Chadwick was also in the dark.

Lightning struck hit a tree and the surge traveled right into her home.

“I heard a lot of thunder and I woke up, came out and saw a nearby tree had been struck by lightning,” Chadwick said.

When lightning struck the huge tree, the damage didn’t stop there, it arched and hit her car, burning out its electrical system.

“The car was running, the wipers were on.  I thought my boyfriend was going somewhere, but it was actually the lightning strike had started it,” Chadwick said.

The storm also caused flash flooding and slowed traffic.

Calls to 911 kept emergency crews busy but the good news is no one was seriously hurt.

Viewers sent in photos of a few trees felled by lightning in Shelton. Lightning was believed responsible for knocking out power to 24,000 Peninsula Light customers in Gig Harbor and the Key Peninsula at around 6 p.m. Thursday. Most had power back on by 8 p.m. Lightning also reportedly hit and damaged Mountain View Elementary School in Shelton.

Local News

Storm photo gallery


From Rob Brown via REDDIT

Local News

Some in Everett still recovering from last week’s storms

EVERETT –  Michelle Murphy still hasn’t recovered from last Thursday, when sewage and storm water flooded out her basement.

“It’s devastating, it’s just truly is devastating,” Murphy said.

web pic floodingIn one rainy night, the mother of three teenagers watched the flood take out all of her basic necessities.

“I have no furnace, i have no hot water, and all the circuit breakers were going, so there were power surges and now I don’t have a fridge.”

 Most of her neighbors are in the same boat. Two doors down, cleanup crews are packing up and stripping out the basement of another house.

 People living in the area have been through this before, and they’ve asked the city to separate the sewer lines from the stormwater, but nothing’s changed.

“We have a lot of sympathy for people,” said Dave Davis, the city’s public works director. “I understand that it’s just a horrendous issue.”

Davis said to separate the sewer lines around the city would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and cause utility rates to skyrocket. He suggests people with basements get a backwater valve to help keep water out. He’s also pushing a city initiative, encouraging homeowners to create rain gardens with deep-rooted plants and soil to soak up stormwater.

Patrick Cullen has battled flooded basements in the past, but says, since building rain gardens in his yard, he hasn’t had a problem.

“The water gets channeled to the rain garden, and the garden fills up,” said Cullen. “It acts as a natural filter as well for the water.”

Last week’s flood still have Murphy in a holding pattern. The damage to her basement isn’t covered under homeowners insurance and she’s still waiting to find out if the city will help cover the costs, already in the thousands.

 “At this point we can’t really rebuild, we’re at a standstill,” she said.

From Justin Shaw of

SEATTLE — Another Thursday, another deluge.

A potent area of low pressure blasted through the region on a southwest-to-northeast track, triggering strong thunderstorms and heavy rainfall as it marches from the beaches of southwest Oregon to the deserts of Eastern Washington. One to 2 inches of rain is possible across the entire Seattle metro area from noon through late Friday afternoon—an amount that would blow last Thursday’s 0.76-inch soaking out of the water.

The action got underway Thursday morning as the area of low pressure, located in the upper atmosphere, approached the south Oregon coast. As it did, the upper level winds flipped to the southeast, dragging warmer, unstable air up the spine of the Cascades and into Western Washington. This should spark a round of afternoon thunderstorms across all of Puget Sound, complete with driving rain and wind.

lightningAs the low barrels northward into Washington Thursday, the thunder and lightning should die down, but the rain won’t be going quietly into the night. Instead, moderate to heavy rain will increase in intensity as darkness sets in, lashing the Sound from late Thursday through early Friday. This, coupled with the anticipated downpours tomorrow afternoon, has led the National Weather Service to issue a flood watch for the entire I-5 corridor from noon tomorrow through 6 p.m. Friday. Minor urban flooding is possible during this time frame.

With the expected drenching, Seattle is almost certain to obliterate the daily rainfall record for Sept.5 —a measly 0.36 inches from 1984. Friday’s mark of 0.93 inches, while substantially higher, is also in danger. Of even greater interest is the September monthly average of 1.50 inches. If current weather models are correct, Seattle stands a decent chance of recording an entire month’s worth of rain in just two days.

The storm will slowly taper off as the low pulls further east on Friday, leaving plenty of clouds behind. Highs will struggle to reach 70 degrees under the drippy, overcast skies.

Fortunately, high pressure builds in quickly over the weekend as we go from partly cloudy and the low 70s on Saturday to mostly sunny and near 80 by Sunday. Sunny, warm weather then looks to hold through much of next week.

Things have to get worse before they get better anyway, right?

Local News

Storm displaces 50 from SeaTac apartments


File photo

SeaTac, Wash. — Heavy rains Thursday evening damaged 13 units and displaced as many as 50 people at a SeaTac apartment building.

The apartment building in the 16000 block of Military Road was undergoing a roof replacement when heavy rains washed through the area around 5:30 p.m. Thursday. The roof was covered in plastic sheeting, but the water managed to get under the cover, damaging the attic, and some units in the 2nd and 3rd floors of the building.

At least 13 apartments suffered “significant” damage, and the apartments will need renovation.

No one was injured in the SeaTac rains. The American Red Cross is helping the displaced families.

SEATTLE — A heavy downpour came down in less than an hour in the Puget Sound region Thursday, causing a roof collapse at a business in Kent and flooding at Seattle’s KeyArena and elsewhere.

The National Weather Service said a record rainfall of 1.33 inches was set at the Olympia Airport, breaking an old record of 1.03 inches set in 1977.

A record rainfall was 0.46 inches was also set in Seattle for the date of Aug. 29, breaking the old record of 0.21 set for that date in 1991.

A roof of a business in Kent collapsed due to the rain at 8200 block of South 194th Street. Kent Fire Capt. Kyle Ohashi says no one was injured at the woodworking warehouse where a 40-foot by 40-foot roof section collapsed under the weight of the water.

Flooding was reported at KeyArena and at the Glendale Apartments in SeaTac.


A look at College Street in Lacey at about 4:30 p.m. (Photo by Amy Goodall)


Flooding in a Tacoma church parking lot. (Photo sent in by Hailey Gift)


The parking lot at the Target store in Lacey on Thursday.


Rain floods the floor at KeyArena.

Local News

Storm turns Mukilteo Boulevard into a river

MUKILTEO — John Petersen shot video as the storm moved through Bainbridge Island.  The rain came down hard there and around Western Washington, catching many people off-guard.

BS4icbmCEAAdYFe“I was looking at the window at work, hoping I wouldn’t have to walk home in it,” says Lindsay Carpp. ”It’s kind of nice to see out the window.”

“We just looked out the window and it was pouring down buckets and buckets of rain,” says Megan Mitchell, who was visiting from Oregon. “I actually took a picture to send to friends at home; look how much it’s raining, we’re in Seattle.”

We might be used to rain here, but not this much, this fast.  The National Weather Service says some rainfall records were broken today, so it’s not a surprise there were problems on the roads.

“I’ve seen rain like everyone else, I’ve seen heavy rain,” says Drew Martin. “I can’t tell you what a 200- or 500-year storm is, but I’d say it was pretty much in that vicinity.”

Police had to close off one lane of traffic, because there was so much water flowing across Mukilteo Boulevard.

“The gutters were overflowing, the water was spewing out,” says Martin. “I happen to be an engineer so I know there’s only so much water that can do down the pipe.”

The city was already drying out this evening, making sure there was no permanent damage done to the road.