Wet weather collapses roof, sinks boat


The calendar says it’s spring on Grays Harbor but the rain has made it seem more like November than May.

Unusually heavy spring rains have been pounding the Harbor all week, nearly doubling the record rainfall for the time of year in Hoquiam and causing some surprising damage around the county. A portion of the roof collapsed at the Simpson Door Plant in McCleary and the sheer weight of rainwater appeared to have helped sink a boat in Hoquiam overnight, prompting a call to the Coast Guard.

A plugged roof drain caused water to build up and crash through the roof at the door plant, pouring into the plant, but causing no injuries or major damage.

General Manager Stacie Conkle said the damage was minimal and hasn’t disrupted production.

“Normally Friday is a very slow day for us because of volumes, it really wasn’t impacted,” she said, adding that no production was scheduled for today anyway.

“There’s a minimal amount of damage, really the major cost is just in repairing the damaged roof itself,” Conkle said. “There were no injuries, which we are very grateful for.”

Employee Jerry Donnelly said workers noticed beams starting to crack yesterday afternoon and were able to cordon off the area with caution tape. When the roof gave out, everyone was safely out of the way of the debris, about 30 feet back, but several had to run from a wave of water 6 to 8 inches deep. Donnelly said there was enough water moving with enough force to move heavy loads of doors.

Conkle said early indications were that debris had clogged the drains and caused the buildup. Crews worked throughout the night to repair the gaping hole, and Conkle said contractors would come in over the weekend for finishing touches to a permanent repair. Maintenance crews were at work today cleaning up the remaining water.

In Hoquiam, police assisted by the Coast Guard were called to the dock at the end of Seventh Street this morning where a 30-foot private aluminum fishing boat had sunk into the tideflat mud at low tide. Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers said it appeared the boat might have taken on so much rain water the weight caused it to sink into the mud as the tide went out.

“It’s sunk,” Myers said. “We’re guessing that the rainwater collected in the back of the boat at low tide, and when the tide came up, the pump wasn’t running for whatever reason, so it couldn’t float. “

Police were trying to contact the owner but had been unsuccessful, and the Coast Guard was called in to monitor the boat because two outboard engines had been leaking a small amount gas.

The National Weather Service said Hoquiam was one of several Western Washington locations to set rainfall records for May 3.

Just short of an inch of rain (.99) fell in Hoquiam on Thursday, shattering the previous record for May 3 of .55 inches in 1981. The National Weather Service also reported records for the date were set in Olympia (1.09 inches, compared to 1 inch in 1948), and at Sea-Tac (.73 inches, breaking the 1948 record of .59 inches).

The Weather Service noted the temperature in Olympia was 50 degrees for a high, 13 degrees below normal and setting a new record for the date.

The heaviest rain in Grays Harbor County fell in the southeast foothills of the Olympics toward East County, where 1.7 inches was recorded at Minot Peak.

The rain, however, should fully give way to a return of spring by Saturday afternoon, which is forecast to be partly sunny with a high near 57 degrees. On Sunday, the Weather Service forecasts patchy fog before 10 a.m. Otherwise, it will be mostly sunny, with a high near 62.

Monday is supposed to be sunny and warmer still, with a high near 68.