Atmospheric river's soaking rains trigger urban flooding around Seattle area
An atmospheric river pushed in copious amounts of tropical moisture into Western Washington, pushing some rivers over their flood banks and turning some streets around the Seattle area into impromptu lakes.
TACOMA, Wash. -- Rain and Seattle go hand-in-hand in the autumn, but Thursday's storm was wet even by their standards.
An atmospheric river pushed in copious amounts of tropical moisture into Western Washington, pushing some rivers over their flood banks and turning some streets around the Seattle area into impromptu lakes. (Or new salmon migration channels).
LEARN: What is an Atmospheric River?
Flood warnings were in effect Thursday for seven rivers that flow from the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, including the Snoqualmie and Tolt Rivers east of Seattle and the Skagit River to the city's north.
Minor flooding was expected on most rivers, except moderate flooding was likely on the Skagit and Skokomish River near the Olympics.
READ: Caution: Salmon crossing! Season's first flood brings annual migration to streets near Seattle
Flood Watches remained for all other rivers in the North and Central Cascades and Olympic Mountains.
But even those not in river flood plains were dealing with excess water. One underpass in Tacoma flooded under a few feet of water, standing a handful of cars.
Standing water, especially where autumn leaves clogged storm drains, was reported across much of the metro area.
Up in the Cascades, a mudslide fell across a stretch of the North Cascades Highway. With darkness falling and rain continuing to fall, WSDOT crews closed a 37-mile stretch of the highway until conditions could be reassessed.
The USGS issued a Landslide Advisory for much of Western Washington, including the Seattle and Puget Sound Metro areas, with 1-2 inches of additional rain in the lowlands and 3-6 inches in the foothills and mountains falling on top of the 2-4 inches of rain that fell in storms over the previous week.
Seattle received 1.99 inches of rain Thursday, which broke the daily rainfall record of 1.53 inches set in 1982 and now stands as the fifth-wettest day on record. Totals over 4 inches were reported in the Cascades, and 3-4 inches were reported in the Olympic Mountains.
Heavy rains will keep falling through Thursday night and into early Friday and then taper from the north as the atmospheric river slides south into Oregon then weaken.
Friday will mark Seattle's 10th consecutive day with measurable rain, but a dry weekend is in store to give residents a chance to wring out.