Local news

Flood watch canceled for 10 West Side counties

The National Weather Service on Saturday canceled its flood watch for 10 counties, but kept it in effect for four other counties in Western Washington.

In Seattle, meteorologist Johnny Burg was optimistic there wouldn’t be any major flooding in Western Washington on Saturday despite warming temperatures and melting snow that feel in the week before Christmas Day.

Burg said the flood watch was lowered at 5 a.m. Saturday to an urban and small stream flood advisory in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Kitsap, Skagit, Whatcom, Clallam, Island, Jefferson and San Juan counties.

The flood watch remained in effect for Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason and Thurston counties, mainly because of the Skokomish and Chehalis rivers. Burg said the rivers could approach or rise above the flood level Saturday or Saturday night, but he said the weather service expected only minor flooding, if that, in the four counties.

Saturday’s high in Seattle was expected to hit 46, while the temperature in the Puyallup-Tacoma area was expected to be 47 to 48, Burg said.

That was a major temperature upgrade for Seattle residents, still shivering after enduring unseasonably low temperatures in the 20s and 30s, with two nights into the teens during Christmas week.

Instead of snow, Seattle was enjoying a pleasant Saturday of rain, but not enough of it to cause flooding coupled with the melting snow. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport had received 13.3 inches of snow since Dec. 13.

The roof of a riding arena in Olympia collapsed early Saturday under the weight of rain-soaked snow. Co-owner Cathy Noyes said owners of Sherman Valley Ranch, a horse- and dog-boarding facility, had been working for days to clear the snow from the roof.

No horses or dogs were injured.

Interstate 90 was closed for about three hours by the state Department of Transportation while workers did avalanche control work five miles east of Snoqualmie Pass. Traffic got under way in both directions shortly before noon after a snow slide blocked at least one lane of the highway.

In the Portland area, the week’s freezing temperatures warmed Saturday. Blizzard-like conditions blew through the Grande Ronde Valley, dealing Eastern Oregon its sixth winter storm in two weeks, according to the National Weather Service. More than four inches of snow was possible in some areas.

Early Saturday, the Oregon Department of Transportation closed two highways because of limited visibility, snow drifts, slush and ice.

Interstate 84 westbound was closed for a time between La Grande and Ontario, according to ODOT, and the highway’s eastbound lanes were closed between Pendleton and Ontario but opened in both directions Saturday night.

Meanwhile, portions of Oregon Highway 237 were closed for a time, and a stretch of U.S. Highway 101 near Tillamook was closed Saturday due to standing water.



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