Series of storms means wet Thanksgiving weekon November 19, 2012 @ 5:59 am (Updated: 7:23 pm - 11/19/12 )
The effect of Monday's rain is already carrying over for some commuters. Northline Sounder service between Seattle and Everett was canceled for the evening commute on Monday because of mudslides.
BSNF Railway has placed a 48-hour moratorium on train travel, and passengers will be bused through the area. Sound Transit expects regular Sounder Train service will resume on the Wednesday evening commute when the moratorium on train travel is lifted.
Forecasters in Seattle said up to 5 inches of rain could fall in the next couple of days in the mountains below snow level and more than 2 inches in the Western Washington lowlands.
All this rain in the lowlands means snow in the mountains: 9 to 30 inches of snow is expected in the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges, mostly above 4,000 feet, according to forecasters. Changing periods of rains, snow or freezing rain will likely make driving a challenge through the Cascade highway passes.
It will be a skiers delight. Stevens Pass announced they will open on Tuesday while Mount Baker and Crystal Mountain Ski Area plan to open a couple of runs on Wednesday. Mission Ridge near Wenatchee plans to open Friday. Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia opened on Saturday.
There could be a break between storms for Thanksgiving Day which will be a welcome respite for commuters stuck in traffic on Monday.
Heavy rains greeted Monday morning commuters in the Puget Sound area as they splashed through deep puddles in the streets. Portions of I-5, as well as major roadways in Seattle, Everett and Bellevue were closed by standing and flooding water over the roadway.
Meteorologist Jay Neher with the National Weather Service warned of an urban and small stream flooding advisory in effect. It was expected that the advisory would be lifted at 8:30 p.m. on Monday.
"That means ponding of water," said Neher. "When it happens in the fall like this there might be a few leaves blocking drains." That's just on the roads. There have been numerous reports of full storm drains threatening area basements and garages.
Mary Lou with Raymark Plumbing and Sewer in Seattle said phones were ringing off the hook with reports of flooding in area homes.
"This is about the busiest I've seen it, but that's about what you would expect with this kind of rain." Lou said her people were so busy, she had to turn away new customers and refer them to other companies.
In southwest Washington, a Washington State Patrol car and another vehicle were struck by a tree carried by a mudslide on Highway 101 near Naselle.
The patrol car started burning and the trooper had to break a window to crawl to safety. The trooper was unhurt, and the female driver of the other vehicle was OK except for neck pain. Both vehicles were destroyed by the fire.
By mid-Monday, Washington State Patrol troopers in Pierce and Thurston Counties had already investigated 20 collisions.
Rains have already pushed the Skokomish River in Mason County west of Seattle to flood stage and there are warnings for flooding on the Chehalis, Satsap, Newaukum and Willapa rivers in southwest Washington. Some streams also may overflow, but no major flooding is expected. More than 3 inches of rain was recorded at Montesano in the 24 hours ending at 9 a.m. Monday.
At Sea-Tac Airport, over two inches of rain were recorded - a new record. According to KING 5 the previous record for single day rainfall recorded at Sea-Tac was 1.52 inches.
The Washington Transportation Department closed the North Cascades Highway at 6 p.m. Monday because of avalanche danger from quickly deepening snow.
The Pacific storms are rolling across Eastern Washington with the same mix of mountain snow and valley rains with a chance of minor flooding. High winds were added for Monday in parts of Eastern Washington.
Stormy weather caused small power outages in parts of the Puget Sound. About 2,800 customers in the north Seattle suburb of Lake Forest Park lost power Sunday evening when a tree fell into power lines.
Seattle experienced power outages Monday afternoon, but Seattle City Light was able to restore most outages by 4 p.m. In scattered areas on Bainbridge and Vashon Islands, Puget Sound Energy was working to restore power to outages caused by high winds Monday evening.
Wind was also in the forecast reaching hurricane-like speeds along the Washington coast.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.