The Weather Beat
Break in storms to let rivers recede
Posted by By Seattle Times staff
Rivers swollen by heavy rainfall and warm temperatures over the holiday weekend crested Monday and were expected to recede as a break in the storms gave the region a chance to dry off.
Another storm system was forecast to bring more rain on Tuesday — but nothing like the deluge that drenched Western Washington in recent days.
Temperatures that reached into the mid-50s on Sunday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport were cooling. That will help keep snow in the mountains and out of the lowland rivers.
Forecasters were predicting highs in the mid-40s on Tuesday with lows dipping into the 30s.
"The rivers will get a chance to recede even though we'll get some rain," said Dana Felton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
On Monday, the weather service reported widespread flooding from the Snoqualmie River at Carnation, the Snohomish and Skykomish rivers near Monroe, and the Cowlitz River at Randle in Lewis County.
The Snoqualmie River at Carnation crested about 5 feet over flood stage on Monday afternoon, while the Snohomish River near Monroe was expected to crest at about 4 feet over flood stage at 10 p.m. Monday, according to the weather service.
The Snohomish River near Snohomish wasn't expected to reach its peak until early Tuesday.
The King County Flood Warning Center said the Cedar River also had reached serious flood levels Monday, with water threatening to close a few miles of Highway 169 near Maple Valley.
A number of roadways across the region were closed. In King County, most of those roads were around Fall City, Carnation, Duvall, North Bend and Snoqualmie.
By Monday afternoon the upper reaches of most of the rivers had crested and were receding, Felton said.
Flood watches and warnings will remain in some areas, though, as it will take awhile for rivers to drop back down.
BNSF Railway halted trains traveling through Skykomish on Monday along Highway 2 after rising floodwaters on the Skykomish River threatened the line.
The railroad was bringing in rock to stabilize the rail bed and keep water from "encroaching upon the property any further," BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said.
The heavy rains and winds were blamed for at least one death late Sunday when Billy Rhynalds, 66, a state Department of Transportation worker, was killed by a falling tree on Highway 203 south of Carnation.
He was setting up traffic cones in the area at the time to warn drivers about water on the road.
Also Sunday, a man and woman had to be rescued by boat after driving their car down a flooded road near Fall City.
Seattle Times staff reporters Janet I. Tu, Jennifer Sullivan and Olivia Bobrowsky contributed to this report.