Story Summary

Western Washington November storm

A storm that started kicking up Nov. 18 in the mountain passes later pummeled the Puget Sound area with record rainfall, resulting in flooded roadways, power outages and landslides.

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Local News
11/20/12

Water, memories of past storms linger in Lewis County

LEWIS COUNTY– With the worst of the record November storm behind the region, some areas are waiting to see if flood waters will rise again. Residents along the Chehalis River in Lewis County were trapped in their homes waiting for water to recede Tuesday. And those, like the Hill family, don’t want to wait too much longer.

“After you go through what we went through in 2007 you panic a lot,” homeowner Shiela Hill said.

The city of Centralia opened its Emergency Operations Center Monday during the storm. Centralia police officer John Panco said there hasn’t been much flooding on the streets, and not many have taken advantage of the sandbags.

Still, Hill said she nearly lost her house during the floods of 2007 and had to be rescued by boat.

Now, her home is again surrounded by water.

“The creek goes all the way around the back of the house,” she said. “The river’s right across the road, so if we get that one two punch that they’re saying we’re going to get and the water’s not gone, I’m probably going to lose at least my garage.”

Cheryl Emery, a Centralia resident, is afraid flood waters will wash away a part of her business. She is also reminded of the 2007 floods, when she lost more than 30 cars from her car lot against the Chehalis River.

“We might have to get the cars ready to move off the lot and up on higher ground,” Emery said.

SEATTLE — Cars parked in a lot near the Mukilteo ferry dock were submerged in water Monday; just a few of the problems caused by a November storm that struck the Puget Sound.

The storm brought over two inches of rain to the region, setting a rainfall record for Nov. 19. But not many were celebrating, especially not the few who returned from the ferry Monday to find their cars flooded.

“I waded out to my car and found it’s completely flooded,” said Mark Thomas, whose car was parked in the lot.

Thomas had bought the silver Toyota Camry last week. Now, he’s glad he bought flood insurance.

“Fortunately I have full coverage,” Thomas said.

Streets around the Sound were closed to traffic, including 120th Avenue NE and 240th Street SE. There, North Creek flooded over its banks. Something residents in the area had never seen.

“I have lived here for a long time and I have never seen this much rain and this much water coming over the bridge,” said Carolyn Hewitt, a local homeowner.

One woman, Penny Sharp, was sure she was ready for the flood. Her home first flooded in 2007, and she raised it four feet on stilts to make sure it never happened again.

“We lost everything,” she said. “They had to dump all of it and then raise the house four feet.”

Fortunately, their family was high and dry Monday night. But their nerves are still frazzled.

“God it went so fast,” she said. “It rained hard last night.”

Water was receding in parts of the Puget Sound Monday night, but more rain and flooding was expected in the coming days.

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. — Heavy rains and high waters raised concerns in many communities Monday as a wet and windy storm pushed through the region.

In Seattle, many residents woke up to find their property flooded with water. Amber Spears, a North Seattle resident, found a moat in her back yard.

“I feel bad for all the people who live here and all my stuff that’s getting ruined,” Spears said. “I’m hoping they’re gonna do something. I don’t know what they’re going to do.”

Resident Dan Garreston was forced to move out of his basement apartment to find dry ground. But somehow, even with the damage, he still had a smile on his face.

“Well, what can you do about it,” he asked. “We woke up at 6:30 to three inches of water in here.”

The town of Port Orchard in Kitsap County has been hit especially hard by the storm. Major streets were shut down, homes became inundated with standing water and businesses were breached by water; a problem made doubly worse by the high tide.

On Monday, sand bags lined the front of businesses on Bay Street, one of Port Orchard’s main throughways. The road was briefly shut down, said Port Orchard’s Police Commander Geoffrey Marti, to avoid severe damages to the stores lining the street.

“We shut it down before any cars got stalled in the street and we were just starting to get some flooding in the businesses behind me,” Marti said. “A lot of that was caused by big trucks going through causing a big wake and the waves would go into the front of the businesses.”

A tree fell on a Washington State Patrol car — the Trooper was not injured. Photo courtesy of Trooper Russ Winger.

Monday’s unrelenting rains and gusty winds are to blame for urban flooding, landslides and all-around treacherous conditions. Here are some photographs from the storm:

Swift Creek in the Cedar Flats area of Olympia from a viewer. The creek normally runs about three feet wide.

Viewer submitted photo of a tree that came down on a car in Olympia.

Flooding at a cemetery in Greenwood.

A picture of a river flooded over its banks sent in from a viewer in Yelm.

Franklin Field in Aberdeen was flooded Monday

A semi truck makes its way down a flooded street. Photo courtesy of Brionna Friedrich, The Daily World

A semi truck overturned on the Chehalis River Bridge. Photo courtesy of Macleod Pappidas, The Daily World

A car attempting to navigate an underwater roadway ended up being towed.

Boing, boing: A trampoline flew over the fence and landed in a neighbor’s yard.

A Grays Harbor Sheriff’s car was swept up in a flooded roadway.

A truck crashed on the Astoria Bridge due to high winds.

A Washington State Patrol Trooper pulled a woman out of this car after it was struck by an electric pole. Photo courtesy of Trooper Russ Winger.

Weather
11/19/12

Flood & Winter Storm Warnings

Very active weather week!  Today, we’ll have rain all day, heavy at times, with breezy-to-windy conditions as well, and a lot of mountain show.  There is a FLOOD WARNING for rivers in Mason & Lewis Counties, especially the Skokomish and the Chehalis Rivers.  Also, all counties south of Lewis County.  There is also a FLOOD ADVISORY for Urban & Small Streams throughout Western Washington.  Basically, expect standing water on roadways, the potential for hydroplaning and roostertails.  Remember the slogan — TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN — do not drive through standing water.  There is a WINTER STORM WARNING for the Cascades through midnight tonight.  Higher passes could get up to 30 inches of snow.  Lower passes like Snoqualmie, Stevens & White will get a mix of snow, rain and freezing rain.

Tonight will be rainy & windy, especially in the Admirality Inlet area – Whidbey Island, the San Juans, western Whatcom & Skagit Counties – as well as the south coast.

The rest of the week will feature rain at times, breezy-to-windy conditions and more mountain snow.  Travel for Thanksgiving will be dicey.  Please give yourself plenty of time and pack food & water.  If you’re going over the moutains, you need to have chains ready and an abundance of patience.  Please be safe!

SEATTLE– The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning through Monday that could bring heavy snow to mountain passes and heavy rain to the lowlands.

Two vigorous frontal systems moving through Western Washington will bring a mix of winter weather to the Olympics and Cascades. Heavy snow is expected on higher mountain roads above 4,500 feet, with as much as 30 inches of snow possible. The winter storm warning for heavy snow in the North and Central cascades is in effect until midnight Monday night.

Some affected locations included higher pass roads such as the Mount Baker Highway, the Washington Pass on the North Cascades Highway and the road to Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park. Lower, commuter passes such as Stevens Pass, Snoqualmie Pass and White Pass will receive heavy snow initially, but precipitation will eventually change to rain with freezing rain possible.

Hazardous driving conditions will likely exist through Monday evening, making for slow travel times for those traveling over the passes early for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Along with the mountain snow, as much as 2.5 inches of rain is in the forecast for the lowlands, increasing the chances for landslides. A flood watch has been issued for the Skokomish River in Mason County from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon. Drivers are cautioned not to drive through any standing water that is more than 18 inches deep.

Monday, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources reported that there were several landslides on State Route 101 at milepost 30.

Wind and rain caused a power outage for more than 2,800 customers in the Lake Forest Park area Sunday. Streetlights and traffic signals were out, as well as lights, leaving many people without the comforts of home. Ashton Lowery and his grandmother Anne Beattie spent the afternoon playing playing games.

“We’ve played hangman,” Beattie said. “What was that gun game we played? Laser Tag? Laser tag. I won.”

All but 170 power customers in Lake Forest Park had their power back on by 9 p.m.

A high wind warning was also in affect for the North Oregon and South Washington Coast from Sunday night through Monday evening. Winds from 25 to 35 mph are expected, with gusts from 50 to 60 mph.

Weather
11/18/12

Stormy weather ahead

Gusty winds and very wet through early Monday. Lots of mountain snow above 3000 feet. Ski areas will love this. All area rivers will be running high and fast. Stay clear. Heavy rain at times for the lowlands so commute times may be slick with standing water on the roadway. It’ll be mostly dry Tuesday morning and Thanksgiving but the rest of the time it’ll be pretty stormy. Wind gusts will top 40mph at times. Not a very nice week ahead. Stay safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Walter.

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