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Flooding, Avalanche Threat Continues Across Northwest

January 17, 2011

Drenching rainfall from the latest in a series of storms will continue to cause flooding across parts of the Pacific Northwest today.

Another 1 to 3 inches of rain will fall today along the Pacific coast and in the valleys of western Washington and Oregon, including Seattle and Portland. Heavy rain will also douse areas well to the east of the Cascades, across parts of western Washington and Oregon, as well as parts of Idaho.

The rain will fall heaviest during the morning hours before becoming more showery-in-nature by tonight.

Regardless of intensity, any additional rainfall will only exasperate ongoing flooding, which could make for slow travel along the I-5 corridor south to Medford. Motorists should always avoid driving through areas where water is ponding.

Higher rainfall totals are likely in the upslope areas of the Cascades. River flooding is already ongoing along rivers flowing off the mountains, including the Cowlitz, Nisqually and Puyallup Rivers.

Residents that live along banks of rivers susceptible to flooding from heavy rain and mountain runoff should have a plan of action ready to implement if flooding occurs.

In addition, warming temperatures and the weight of the heavy rain over the mountain snowpack could lead to avalanches along the western face of the Cascades and in passes. Travel and recreational activities through the back country of Washington is strongly discouraged.

Snow levels will continue to rise to above 8,000 feet through tonight.

Flooding from an earlier storm of similar magnitude near Carnation, Wash., Monday, Dec. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Along coastal bluffs and in the foothills, continuous heavy rain could trigger landslides that could disrupt travel and damage highways.

Strong winds will also accompany the heavy rain, gusting as high as 40 mph along the coast and through the valleys, higher in the Cascades. Winds of this magnitude, combined with a soggy ground, could easily knock down trees and power lines.

Unfortunately, wet weather will persist through midweek across the region as more moisture continues to surge ashore.

  1. January 23, 2011 at 10:35 am

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