A soggy yet unseasonably warm weekend ahead

Flooding, yes. Disastrous, clearthe-basement and leave-the-house flooding, no.

Those were the predictions Friday from National Weather Service forecasters as the Puget Sound region prepared for a weekend soaking.

Forecasters used more elegant phrasing: “An episode of very wet and unseasonably warm weather Saturday night,” they called it.

Translation: 1 to 3 inches of rain in the lowlands, 3 to 8 inches in the highlands, starting late tonight, swelling into Sunday, tapering off by Monday.

“It’s looking like it’s gonna be wet and there’s gonna be some flooding, but not the really bad flooding that happened in 2007,” said Weather Service meteorologist Johnny Burg.

The big question forecasters faced involved the areas of heaviest rainfall. Different statistical models gave different answers Friday.

One predicted a dump to the north, putting the heaviest rain in the Olympic Mountains and the North Cascades. That would lower the risk of flooding in South Sound, but another model predicted heavier rain farther south.

By the end of the day Friday, forecasters were leaning to the northward prediction.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will keep a close eye on the Green River basin, an area of concern during heavy rainstorms. On Friday, the Corps was more wary than worried.

“The Corps does not expect the rainfall in the Green River basin to be of concern for operations at Howard Hanson Dam or for flooding on the lower Green River basin, which is from Auburn downstream through Kent, Renton and Tukwila,” a news release stated.

“In addition, the flows expected in this part of the basin are below thresholds that may be of concern for levee problems.”