WSDOT worker killed by falling tree; Worst of storm & flooding over

Jan 17, 2011

A veteran Washington State Department of Transportation worker has died after being hit by a falling tree during Sunday night's rain storm.  Maintenance Superintendent Jim McBride said the worker was setting up safety cones to alert motorists to downed power lines when the tree fell on his truck and killed him on Highway 203 just south of Carnation. 

Department spokeswoman Kris Olsen identified the man as 66-year-old Billy Rhynalds, a 12-year veteran of the department.

Meantime, a spokesman at the National Weather Service office in Seattle says after Western Washington rivers crest today, the worst flooding will be over.  Dennis D'Amico told KOMO that precipitation in the mountains has slowed and is turning to snow:

"Flooding could wind down as early as Monday morning in some areas, but others may not see that until Tuesday," since it takes time for water to flow through some of the bigger rivers.


Flood Warnings Remain

Many western Washington rivers remain under a flood warning, including:

  • Carbon
  • Cowlitz
  • Deschutes
  • Green
  • Nisqually
  • Puyallup
  • Skokomish
  • Skykomish
  • Snohomish
  • Snoqualmie
  • Stillaguamish
  • Tolt

The King County Flood Warning Center issued a phase three flood alert for the Green River. Check the latest flood watches/warnings here.

Crews closed several roads in east King County along the Snoqualmie River, which is expected to crest about 11 a.m.

The National Weather Service is forecasting a 40-percent chance of showers on Martin Luther King Day with south-southwest winds between 11 and 15 m.p.h. with gusts as high as 25 m.p.h., but calming tonight with a 30-percent rain chance.