Flood warnings have been issued for the Chehalis, Satsop and Willapa Rivers Monday morning as heavy rain continued to pelt Western Washington from the coast inland.
The National Weather Service said a strong wet front stalled over Southwest Washington, causing those rivers along with the Newaukum River in Lewis County to rise to what is expected to be flood stage or above by later Monday night.
A flood watch is in effect through Tuesday afternoon, the Weather Service said.
Elsewhere in Western Washington, the Puyallup and Snoqualamie rivers also were expected to rise above flood stage.
Additional rainfall amounts are expected to be between 2 and 5 inches over Southwest and Central Washington, the Weather Service said.
Grays Harbor County Emergency Management urged citizens to be prepared for localized power outages due to fallen tree branches and downed power lines. The Weather Service issued a wind advisory along with the flood watch, and it also warned of heavy urban flooding around storm drains or low-lying streets.
The wind is expected to increase from the south at 25-35 mph with gusts as high as 55 mph and then diminish later Monday evening.
The Grays Harbor PUD reported as many as 800 customers lost power Sunday night in scattered outages, and part of the Tokeland area and about 300 customers in the Montesano area lost power on Monday morning. In all, about 2,440 customers in the northwest part of the county including Pacific Beach, Copalis Beach, Copalis Crossing, Moclips and Taholah also were without power.
For the Satsop River, the Weather Service said it was measured at 32.4 feet at 9 a.m. Monday, with flood stage at 34 feet. Flood stage was expected at about 7 p.m. Monday, with a crest near 34.6 feet by about 1o p.m.
The biggest threat to flooding on the Chehalis was upriver in the town of Doty, where the river was measured at 7.9 feet Monday morning and was expected to rise above the 13-foot flood stage by noon. Flooding also was expected on the south fork of the Chehalis, impacting some residential and commercial areas, the Weather Service said.
In Pacific County,the Willapa River is forecast to rise above flood stage about 3 p.m. Monday and is expected to crest at 22 feet by 10 p.m.
Drivers were cautioned about using Heckard Road and U.S. Highway 101 near the Willapa River.
The magnitude of flooding on Highway 101 will depend on the tide, according to Pacific County Emergency Mangement. Monday evening’s high tide will be about 5 p.m.
Charles Wallace, deputy director of Grays Harbor Emergency Management, said most of the county was under 3-5 inches of water with more than 2-3 inches of rains still on the way.
“We still have a series of storms coming through and each one of these could be one of those that brings 45 mph to 5o mph gusts,” Wallace said. “Everybody just needs to stay prepared for anything over the next couple of days.”
In Aberdeen, the entrances to the Gateway Mall were partially flooded and Wallace urged drivers to use extreme caution.
“There’s nowhere for the water to go right now,” he said. “It’s just one of those things where we have had so much rain, the ground just can’t handle it. For the next couple of days, people have to be very wary of ponding on the roads and drive a little bit slower.”
In Aberdeen, afternoon preschool at Robert Gray and Stevens elementary schools were cancelled for today along with the after school programs at Robert Gray, Stevens, and Aberdeen High.
In Pacific County, Willapa Valley students were released at 1 p.m. due to flooding and a power outage. South Bend schools announced today they would have a two-hour late start tomorrow morning.