Heavy rain causes flooding, car accidents, mudslides


by KING 5 News


Posted on November 19, 2012 at 6:24 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 3:09 AM

Heavy rain, flooding and mudslides were being reported all over Western Washington as a strong storm front stalled over the region Monday.

More than 7 inches of rain fell over a two-day period in Potlatch, more than 6 inches in Bremerton and nearly 4 inches in Olympia.

Several roads around the region were flooded during the morning commute and a number of drivers stalled in the standing water or were caught up in accidents. The underpass where Mercer Street goes beneath Aurora Avenue in Seattle flooded due to clogged storm drains. At least two cars got stuck in the water. Up-to-the-minute updates on our live blog

Flood warnings were issued for parts of the Chehalis, Naselle, Newaukum, Satsop, Grays, Willapa and Skokomish rivers. Urban and small stream flood advisories were issued for most of Western Washington through 8:30 p.m. Monday.

Lewis County officials say the Chehalis River at Mellen Street is expected to reach flood levels by 8 a.m. Tuesday and remain at a high level throughout the day.  River waters will begin impacting roadways and limiting access. The city of Centralia declared a local emergency, opening sandbag stations in the 100 block of Center St. and at 1227 Harrison Ave. More information is available at www.lewiscountywa.gov

Motorists are advised not to drive through standing water.  Six inches of water can sweep you off of your feet, 12 inches can sweep your car away.

Two mudslides have closed a railroad track north of Seattle, impacting two Amtrak Cascades trains. BSNF Railway placed a 48-hour moratorium on train travel, and passengers will be bused through the area. Train traffic will resume normal operations after 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21, if the tracks remain clear. For more information, call 800-USA-RAIL or visit www.AmtrakCascades.com.

About 20,000 power outages across Western Washington were reported as of 2 p.m. Monday.

Some schools reported early dismissals Monday or late starts Tuesday. Sign up for school closure text alerts

The State Department of Transportation advised that drivers from Puget Sound south to Vancouver should plan ahead for ugly commutes this week as the series of storms barrel across Western Washington.

In much of the region, drivers will face heavy rain and gusty winds Monday night through Tuesday. Winds are expected to calm down Wednesday, but heavy rain showers will persist until Thursday afternoon.

WSDOT urged commuters to do their part to keep traffic flowing by driving for the conditions:

• Check current conditions and closures before heading out
• Reduce speeds
• Increase following distance
• Allow extra time for trips
• Turn on headlights for better visibility

Winter weather advisories were posted for parts of the Cascades and Olympics. The North Cascades Highway closed at noon due to heavy snow.

KING 5 Meteorologist Jeff Renner said the rain would change to showers Monday night, with a slight chance of thundershowers, especially over the southwest interior and south Puget Sound. Winds would begin easing from sustained winds of 15-35 mph to 15-25 mph with higher gusts possible. Latest forecast

Tuesday morning we'll see rain at times, then increasing in the afternoon with rising winds. Highs will be mostly in the upper 40s to low 50s. Another inch of rain expected from Everett north. The Kitsap Peninsula will see another two inches and nearly 3 1/2 inches in Olympia.

Temperatures will be in the upper 40s to low 50s.

A couple of weaker fronts will sweep through the state for showers at times this week.  Highs should cool slightly, into the mid to upper 40s on Wednesday and Thanksgiving day.

Travelers should expect mainly rain in the lower passes, but snow levels will likely fall to near 3,000' by Wednesday and down to 2,000' Wednesday night. That means snow will begin falling in Stevens and White passes Wednesday.

Check the latest traffic conditions anytime with the Seattle Traffic App and weather with the Seattle Weather App.