Record rains flood western Washington rivers

Dec 13, 2010

Record rainfall in the Pacific Northwest has triggered mudslides and caused record flooding along some Western Washington rivers.  As many rivers recede this morning, some are still cresting, including the Snohomish River, where water levels are expected to remain above flood stage through Tuesday.

The Herald of Everett reports the Snohomish is being fed by the flooding Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers:

The Snohomish River at the city of Snohomish is expected to crest about 9 a.m., said John Pennington, director of Snohomish County's Department of Emergency Management...And the Snohomish River could reach near-record levels with waters rising to 30.8 feet, almost 7 feet over flood stage.

Forecasters predict the Snohomish will drop below flood stage at Monroe this evening, and by Tuesday morning at the city of Snohomish.

Several hundred residents along portions of the Stillaguamish River northeast of Everett, in the Arlington area, were told to consider evacuating as the river and its forks tied or exceeded record levels Sunday afternoon.

No injuries were reported. Floods left some with significant property and roads were damaged by mudslides, as you can see in these images taken by KOMO TV near Arlington, and in Burien south of Seattle:

Mudslides were reported around the region, including Mercer Island, Kirkland, Burien, and West Seattle. 

Most rivers had started going down by Sunday afternoon and the worst of the flood danger was expected to be over by early Monday.  

The National Weather Service says flooding was reported on more than 20 Washington rivers at times on Sunday.

Breaking Rainfall Records

Sunday's rainfall set a record at Sea-Tac Airport of 2.19 inches. Other records:   

  • Olympia - 1.8 inches
  • Bellingham - 1.61 inches
  • Port Angeles - 1.18 inches
  • Renton - 1.92 inches 
  • Shelton - 3.1 inches   

Some overall two-day storm totals were 5.59 inches at Shelton, 5.56 inches at Bremerton, 3.6 inches at Sea-Tac, 2.24 inches at Bellingham and 1.28 inches at Everett.

The weather service says 11 inches of rain fell at Quinault on the Olympic Peninsula. Yes, that's in the Olympic Rain Forest.

Some Amtrak, Sounder trains canceled today

Northern Sounder commute trains are canceled today between Everett and Seattle due to mudslides over the rails. Buses will be running in their place. There's no word yet on when regular train service will be restored.

The Amtrak Cascades run between Seattle and Portland is also suspended, according to the News Tribune. It is expected to be running again on Tuesday. Amtrak advises checking their website or calling 1-800-USA-RAIL before you travel.