SEATTLE – Heavy rain and higher-than-normal temperatures during the next several days could cause some Washington rivers to flood, the National Weather Service said Thursday.
A series of Pacific storms was expected to hit the state with the most rain on Sunday, forecasters said.
With snow levels above 5,000 feet, most of the precipitation will be running off as water. Among the rivers that could flood are the Chehalis, Snoqualmie and Snohomish.
The Weather Service issued flood warnings Thursday for the Grays River near Rosburg in Wahkiakum County, and a flood advisory for the Skokomish River near Potlatch in Mason County.
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Conditions also were raising the avalanche danger in the mountains as winds and rains threatened to weaken layers of snow.
The Washington State Avalanche Center warned of a high danger of snowslides in the Washington Olympics, Cascades and Mount Hood area.
The danger should lessen today but increase again Saturday with more warming, winds and rain in the forecast, the center said. The warning covers backcountry terrain and does not apply to ski areas.
In Spokane, temperatures climbed into the 40s Thursday, rapidly melting weeks of accumulated snow. Slush was blamed for an accident on state Route 395 north of Spokane that injured a 40-year-old driver. Standing water was a problem on city streets where drains were blocked by ice.
The Moses Lake area saw freezing rain that coated roads and forced many schools to close for the day.
The Grant County sheriff’s office reported more than 40 collisions. Most caused only minor damage with no serious injuries.
The Washington State Patrol reported a semi-truck hit a disabled car on Interstate 90 east of Moses Lake, with wreckage hitting another vehicle and a man outside his car. Troopers said the 56-year-old Moses Lake man suffered a skull fracture and broken arms and legs.