Rain in full force as Western Washington recovers from ice storm

Dec 24, 2022, 9:00 AM
Washington rain...
Today's rainfall will serve to help melt snow and ice, but there is so much frozen stuff piled up in spots that water is likely to be blocked from draining, creating issues with urban flooding on roadways and flooding around homes where water will pool. (KIRO 7 News)
(KIRO 7 News)

WESTERN WASHINGTON — Freezing rain in areas of Western Washington shut down runways at Sea-Tac Airport, suspended public transportation, caused road and freeway closures and cut power to thousands amid icy conditions on Friday.

The good news for the lowlands is temperatures continued to warm slightly through Friday evening and overnight, so no return to sub-freezing temperatures or any sort of refreezing of roadways. Near the mountains and in the passes, we will still have below freezing temperatures and of course, east of the crest will continue to remain in the icebox throughout the Christmas weekend.

Showers of rain were around Friday night in the lowlands but now, another weather system is increasing and moving in from the west. This will bring heavy rain to the lowlands, especially on Saturday afternoon. This rainfall will serve to help melt snow and ice, but there is so much frozen stuff piled up in spots that water is likely to be blocked from draining, creating issues with urban flooding on roadways and flooding around homes where water will pool. Clear your storm drains and other drainages of snow and ice if possible before the heavy rain on Saturday.

Winds will also be on the increase Saturday and a Wind Advisory is up for Saturday for the coast and north/west of Everett where wind gusts over 40mph will be common. Elsewhere, wind gusts of 30mph can be expected. There will also be abnormally high tides (for Seattle around 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday) and we could see some tidal overwash and minor coastal flooding in locations susceptible to southerly/southwesterly winds.

In the passes, a half inch or more of ice in the form of freezing rain is expected through Saturday, so this is a particular danger and obstacle for pass travelers. In addition, snow will fall especially at Stevens Pass along with bouts of ice. Travelers should be aware that even though the thaw will really be on Saturday around the lowlands of Western Washington, traveling into the mountains and east will be very difficult Saturday and even into Christmas Day.

For Christmas in the lowlands, expect occasional rain showers but not the heavy rain of Saturday. Highs will be around 50.

Monday and Tuesday next week, more heavy rain is ahead with an atmospheric river associated with a large low pressure system in the Pacific. Rivers will be on the rise and even the passes will have just rain early next week. The lowlands could receive 3-5 inches of rain by New Year’s weekend, with more in some upslope locations in the Cascades and Olympics.

Now that the thaw is on, wintry precipitation is in the rear view mirror for the lowlands of Western Washington for quite a while to come – at least through New Years.

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Rain in full force as Western Washington recovers from ice storm