Heavy rain expected to slow down

Staff writerFebruary 18, 2014 

Heavy holiday weekend rains once again turned the Deschutes River into a torrent with Tumwater Falls Park a popular spot to watch its power on display Tuesday morning. Thurston County Emergency Management issued a flood alert Monday afternoon for the Chehalis River at Grand Mound and the Skookumchuck River near Bucoda, according to the organization's facebook page.


River levels in south Thurston County should soon start to decline as heavy rain from recent storms flushes through the waterways.

Most areas of the South Sound received about 2 to 3 inches of rain from Sunday night through Monday afternoon, said Josh Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle.

Thurston County Emergency Management told residents via its Facebook page of a flood warning for the Chehalis River, which should crest Tuesday morning near Grand Mound. The river could also surpass flood level near Porter and could crest Wednesday morning.

The Northwest River Forecast Center website showed the Deschutes, Skookumchuck and Newakum rivers receding from flood stage as of Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, landslides on BNSF tracks have halted passenger train service for 48 hours between Olympia and Tacoma as well as between Seattle and Everett, according to the Associated Press.

The intermittent rain showers that passed through the area Sunday and Monday could change to a steady rain by Tuesday, Smith said. Up to an inch of rain could fall throughout the day.

On Tuesday in Olympia and Thurston County, temperatures could rise to the mid-40s, Smith said, with southerly winds in the 15-25 mph range.

The storms from Sunday and Monday dropped more than 28 inches of snow in the Cascade Mountains. The State Patrol closed eastbound Interstate 90 midday Monday to remove spun-out vehicles and to wait for conditions to improve. The freeway was reopened by early Monday evening.

Earlier this year, so little snow had accumulated in the Cascades that the area faced a drought, Smith said. That’s no longer the case. The western slope of the Cascade Range from Canada to the Oregon border will remain under a winter storm warning through 6 a.m. Wednesday. More snow could fall in the mountains throughout the week, Smith said.

“Our snowpack, if it’s not at normal already, it’s getting closer to normal,” he said. “Now we’ve increased our snowpack quite a bit since the beginning of February.”

White Pass Ski Area said Monday afternoon that it had received 14 inches of fresh snow in the previous 12 hours.

“Epic does not begin to cover the amount of snow coming in right now,” it said on its website. “Be sure to practice deep snow safety procedures, stay away from tree wells and stay in-bounds.”

Kate Martin: 253-597-8542 kate.martin@ thenewstribune.com @KateReport

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