After 16-hour break, rain and wind return to Seattle

After 16-hour break, rain and wind return to Seattle
A taxi drives through standing water in Lynnwood on Tuesday.SEATTLE — A day after record rainfall drenched Western Washington, morning commuters had a much easier time on the roads and flooded homeowners were getting a chance to mop up.

But the break is over, as another storm rolls through the area Tuesday, bringing more rain and wind to the region.

While the storm won’t be as wet as Monday’s 2+ inches of rain, we could see anywhere from 0.25-0.50″ around the Puget Sound area, with perhaps a little more on the coast. That could cause some additional urban flooding in areas where storm drains have still not been cleared.

In addition, a Wind Advisory is in effect for the greater Puget Sound area and southern Washington through 6 p.m., with peak gusts of 40-45 mph expected in the 1-5 p.m. time frame, so scattered power outages are again a possibility.

It will remain generally wet and breezy through Wednesday. Thanksgiving day appears to be mostly dry, but the rain will return again on Friday.

So what’s on the way is shaping up to be fairly normal weather for the latter half of November in the Puget Sound area.

Monday, however, was far from a normal rainy day.

Nearly 2 inches of rain fell in six hours Monday in one Seattle neighborhood – a total that Seattle Public Utilities meteorologist James Rufo-Hill called “extraordinary.”

“It was a pretty big storm for most of the city – lots of rain in a relatively short amount of time,” he said, but several neighborhoods “really got drenched.”

The rain caused widespread reports of flooded roads and highways, some mudslides and residential flooding, and even sewage overflows in parts of Seattle and Everett. Several blocks of downtown streets were briefly flooded in Port Orchard, and utility crews throughout Western Washington were scrambling to clear roads and highways of standing water.

Puget Sound Energy reported 24,000 electricity outages at mid-afternoon in its western Washington service area, with most service restored by Monday evening.

BNSF Railways imposed a 48-hour moratorium on passenger and commuter trains travel between Everett and Seattle, starting around noon Monday, after at least 10 mudslides affected the tracks, spokesman Gus Melonas said.

The heavy rains and thick cloud cover led to the day being declared second-gloomiest day in the past three years in Seattle, when measuring by sunlight energy received.

On Oregon’s northwest coast, a hunter was killed Monday morning when a tree crashed on his tent near Nehalem. Two hunters in an adjacent camp heard the tree snap as gusts reached more than 70 mph and saw it lying across the tent. They cut it away in an attempt to rescue the man, to no avail.

Tillamook County Sheriff Andy Long identified the hunter as Nathan Christensen, 52, of Seattle.

In southwest Washington, a Washington State Patrol car and another vehicle were struck by a tree carried by a mudslide on U.S. Highway 101 near Naselle.

The patrol car started burning, and the trooper had to break a window to crawl to safety. The trooper was unhurt, and the female driver of the other vehicle was OK except for neck pain. Both vehicles were destroyed by the fire.

Four Seaside, Ore., firefighters narrowly avoided injury when a tree fell on their fire truck. Fire Chief Joey Daniels said the four had gone to U.S. Highway 26 to help clear a tree. When they got back into the truck, they saw another one starting to fall.

“They all opened their doors and jumped out,” Daniels said.

Strong winds overturned large commercial trucks on two highways Monday. One tractor-trailer tipped over while crossing the Astoria-Megler Bridge that carries U.S. 101 across the Columbia River. That caused a lengthy traffic headache.

Another semi was blown onto its side in the middle of the Chehalis River Bridge in Aberdeen, on the Washington coast, Aberdeen police said.

In Washington, peak storm gusts reached 101 mph on the Megler bridge linking Oregon and Washington and 61 mph at Hoquiam on the Washington coast. They hit 114 mph on isolated Naselle Ridge in the mountains of southwest Washington, the Weather Service reported.

Seattle already meets its annual rain quota

Even if the rest of the year were to be bone dry, 2012 will go down as wetter-than-normal in Seattle. With Monday’s soaker, Seattle stood at 37.99 inches of rain for the year, already surpassing our annual average of 37.41 inches. With more rain on the way this week and December ranking as the third-wettest month of the year, the city is set to finish the year well ahead of normal.

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