Potent storm nails Western Wash. with heavy rain, wind, flooding
A potent Pacific storm is wreaking havoc across parts of Western Washington, downing trees up north, covering a U.S. highway with mud and rocks in Grays Harbor County and prompting multiple weather warnings and watches.
In Bellingham, high winds brought trees down onto at least two homes overnight. The San Juan Islands also were buffeted with strong winds.
The high winds also knocked out power in scattered areas across Whatcom County, with more than 2,000 customers reported to be in the dark as of 8 a.m. Winds are expected to die down through the day.
Also in Whatcom County, Highway 9 was closed in both directions at the South Fork Nooksack River near Acme due to water over the roadway.
In Grays Harbor County, a slow-moving mudslide is blocking all lanes of Highway 12 near Porter Creek Road. All traffic is being detoured onto local roads in the area. The State Patrol says rocks and mud are continuing to ooze onto the highway from the slide.
In southwest Washington, Highway 501 near Reiman Road in Ridgefield was closed due to erosion from heavy rains. One lane was expected to reopen by 2 p.m.
The storm is expected to dump a total of five inches of rain in the Olympic Mountains and up to four inches in the North Cascades as snow levels soared to the 8,000-foot level.
The National Weather Service issued a major flood warning for the Skokomish River in Mason County through Friday. Flood warnings also were issued for the Bogachiel River near La Push and the Elwha River at McDonald Bridge in Clallam County, and the Nooksack River at North Cedarville and the South Fork Nooksack River at Saxon Bridge in Whatcom County.
Flood watches were issued for the possibility of potential river flooding in Clallam, Grays Harbor, Skagit, Whatcom and Snohomish counties.
A mudslide warning was issued for much of Western Washington and a winter storm watch was posted for the Cascades from Friday afternoon through Saturday evening, when snow levels are expected to plunge down to pass levels.
This is a developing news story. More information will be posted as it becomes available.