Flood warnings issued as March roars in like a lion

SEATTLE - Flood warnings were issued for several Western Washington rivers Thursday after the wettest start to March on record in Seattle.

And area residents can expect the rainy weather to continue into early next week, after a possible sunbreak Friday, as more Pacific storm fronts head toward the Northwest, forecasters said.

The National Weather Service says 1.84 inches fell at Sea-Tac Airport on Wednesday, making it the fifth-wettest March day at Sea-Tac and 7th wettest day on record including older Downtown Seattle Federal Building measurements. March precipitation at Sea-Tac as of 9 a.m. Thursday is 3.81 inches. Normal for the entire month 3.72 inches.

Flood warnings were issued for several rivers, including the Newaukum River near Chehalis, the Snoqualmie River near Carnation, the Puyallup River near Orting, the Cowlitz River at Randle in Lewis County and the Skokomish River near Potlatch in Mason County.

By Friday morning another .25-to-1 inch of rain is forecast in the Western Washington lowlands and 1-to-3 inches in the mountains. Showers and snow-melting mild temperatures are forecast across the state through the weekend.

Rainfall totals for the 24 hours ending at 7 a.m. Thursday ranged from about 0.7 inches at Seattle to 1.11 inches at Edmonds, 1.05 inches at Tacoma and 1.4 inches at Aberdeen.

So far no damage has been reported from minor flooding, with the exception of an SUV that was driven onto a flooded road near Carnation. The driver was trying to turn around when the engine stalled and the vehicle became stuck amid the rising waters.

In Duvall, flooding forced Tolt Hill Road to close, says Sgt. Michael Bebock of the Duvall police.

In addition, a mudslide along the railroad tracks north of Seattle has canceled Amtrak and Sounder commuter trains until Saturday morning.

Forecasters say drier weather is possible by the middle of next week.