Waters will continue to rise on the Chehalis River until they crest at just past flood level, but overall rainfall should ease off in the county, allowing the rain to absorb into the soil and residents of the county to get back to their lives.
Gusting winds of up to 60 mph will continue for the next few days with intermittent downpours. The wind combined with ground that is saturated means there is still a risk for landslides and trees that could uproot in the wind, said Charles Wallace, deputy director of Emergency Management for Grays Harbor County.
The worst may be over for now, but that depends on the weather, and predicting the weather depends on the accuracy of the models forecasters use.
“On Thursday there is a chance for stronger winds, depending on their models,” Wallace said.
Over the past 48 hours, areas on the Harbor have been saturated with between 3.9 and 5.47 inches of rain.
As of 10 a.m. on Tuesday, the Chehalis River was at a level of 20.58 feet and was predicted to pass flood stage at 21 feet sometime around noon. By 4 p.m. today it is predicted to crest at 21.35 feet. During the same timeframe, the Satsop had already started to recede.
Monday’s storm caused downed trees, flooding and contributed to a handful of vehicle accidents, including an overturned semi tractor-trailer truck on the Chehalis River Bridge. Also, a truck in Hoquiam was damaged when a tree, approximately 100 feet tall, driven by winds, snapped in the middle and fell on the vehicle. No one was injured in the accident, according to Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers.
No state highways were damaged in the storm, but the heavy rains damaged a culvert that ran under C Street in Cosmopolis. The culvert collapsed, then a hole opened up in the road above it when a woman drove over it. The car landed headfirst in the hole. The woman and her two children inside were unharmed.
“We had an excessive amount of water that came down into the creek in a very short time,” said Cosmopolis Mayor Vickie Raines, explaining the opening in the ground.
Raines said the road will be reopened as soon as possible, “We are going to do a temporary fix and close the hole to allow for the road to be reopened to traffic,” she said. Then sometime in the spring or summer, the road will be permanently repaired, she said.