Weather change strikes out summer heat
This week’s late-summer storm brought some 28,000 lightning strikes statewide. A sinkhole developed near Burien, an 8-foot-high landslide closed Highway 410 near Yakima, and sewers overflowed in Snohomish County.
Seattle Times news services
A storm that dumped heavy rain on Washington state left a wake of damaged roads, a nearly 8-foot-tall mudslide and overflowed sewers. But late-summer sunshine is returning soon.
The National Weather Service lifted a flood watch for Western Washington on Friday afternoon as the worst of Thursday’s storm had passed, meteorologist Johnny Burg said.
“We still expect some rainfall, but we’re not expecting anything to cause any widespread flooding,” Burg said.
Residents across Washington woke up Friday to inspect the storm’s damage.
Near Burien, part of a roadway in unincorporated King County collapsed, creating a sinkhole. Meanwhile, crews northwest of Yakima were working to clean out a nearly 8-foot-high mudslide that hit State Highway 410, the state Department of Transportation said.
Rain-caused mudslides in several locations also closed a 24-mile section of the North Cascades Highway, transportation officials said. That closure was expected to last through the weekend. No injuries were reported.
In Everett, city officials said 12 sewers overflowed into the Snohomish River and Port Gardner Bay. They said water quality at the outfall location was still being tested, but warned residents to stay away from those areas for the time being.
In the Spanaway-Graham area, a narcotics dog named Duke chewed his way out of a kennel at his handler’s home and ran away, presumably scared by the thunder and lightning. The police department asked the public for help finding him.
The dog was eventually found when he wandered into a yard in Lakewood. The resident recognized him from the news coverage and held him until police picked him up.
The rain came in fast and heavy on Thursday. Lewis County got some of the highest readings, hovering around 4 inches of rain. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where Seattle’s official weather measurements are recorded, saw 1.7 inches over 48 hours, Burg said.
It was in Lewis County that a 59-year-old Tenino man was struck by lightning Thursday morning while riding his motorcycle on Interstate 5. The strike hit his helmet, and when he removed it, witnesses said, his ear was blackened and his hair singed. He was kept in the intensive-care unit at Harborview Medical Center overnight and released Friday afternoon, according to hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg.
The storm triggered a massive mud and rockslide Thursday night in the small, remote community of Stehekin at the north end of Lake Chelan in north-central Washington, national park officials said.
A number of vehicles in a long-term parking area and at the mouth of Imus Creek were buried, a North Cascades National Park Complex statement said. No one was hurt.
Many bicycles from a bike shop were damaged or washed into the lake, and a log-cabin office for a fly-fishing shop was surrounded by mud and rocks, the statement said.
By one rough estimate, there were some 5,900 lightning strikes in Western Washington alone, Burg said.
Statewide there were more than 28,000 lightning strikes, fire officials said Friday. But heavy rains likely doused most wildfires sparked by the storm.
“We had numerous reports of (fire) starts,” said Jim Duck, coordinator for the Central Washington Interagency Communications Center, “but widespread rain pretty much handled those.”
Forest Service officials agreed that rain had dampened most lightning strikes, but said forestlands would continue to be monitored for delayed starts.
One quirk of the storm was a lack of rain in places where there is usually a lot. Residents along the Washington coast didn’t get much rain, Burg said.
The forecast calls for sunshine to come back during the second half of Sunday, with a mostly sunny Monday to follow.
For those wondering, summer does not end, technically, until Sept. 22.
Information in this story came from The Associated Press, The Wenatchee World and Seattle Times reporting.