Rain hit the Spokane area this week – initially prompting a flood watch – but meteorologists downgraded the alert after weather patterns changed Tuesday.
As snow melts and rain continues, it’s not enough for alarm, Spokane National Weather Service Meteorologist Steven Van Horn said. The fall was pretty dry, so the soil was easily able to absorb the moisture from the snow.
The Spokane area saw one-half to three-quarters of an inch of rain from 2 p.m. Monday to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Van Horn said. More rain fell in areas with higher elevation, with at least 2 inches falling in parts of northeast Washington.
Still, people should be cognizant of accumulating water in areas with little drainage, he said, and watch for colder temperatures.
Mountain areas in Washington and the Idaho Panhandle will see periods of snow on Thursday as temperatures drop and rain tapers off. As the weather pattern changes, snow through Saturday and Sunday could also impact some of the passes.
Stevens Pass has an 80% chance of gaining more than 12 inches, and Lookout Pass has an 80% chance of gaining more than 6.
Lower-level areas like Spokane and Coeur d’Alene will likely see much less, with a 30-50% chance of getting more than 2 inches .
Western Washington, meanwhile, is experiencing major flooding from continuous rainfall.
The Seattle area set a record on Monday with 1.51 inches of rainfall, the Seattle Times reported, and reached 1.61 inches by the end of Tuesday.
Skagit County began prepping for flood evacuations, and rivers in Snohomish County are nearly reaching a record high. Debris is also flowing over some highways, causing road closures.
All this weather is because of a plume of moisture from the tropical areas in the Pacific Ocean, Van Horn said, closer to Hawaii. Known as a “Pineapple Express” storm, jet stream currents gather warm air and carry it to the Northwest, producing heavy rains.
Luckily, Eastern Washington is shielded from those harsh rains by the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges.
“Nothin’ too crazy,” Van Horn said.