Flooding caused by nearly a week of rain and snow in the Pacific Northwest closed portions of critical highways on Friday and prompted authorities to warn of dangerous landslides and avalanches.
Portions of Washington state’s two major highways – Interstate 90 and Interstate 5 – were closed amid flooding concerns. And the major route across Washington’s Cascades – I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass – closed Thursday due to avalanche danger, heavy snow and low visibility.
On Friday afternoon, crews were able to reopen a 20-mile stretch of Interstate 5, the Washington State Department of Transportation tweeted.
Residents living in the Skokomish Valley area of Mason County, Washington, were under an evacuation order due to rising water and “imminent flooding,” the county said in a news release, CNN reported.
According to the National Weather Service office in Seattle, several cities in Washington broke rainfall records Thursday, which likely triggered flooding, CNN said.
On Friday, parts of downtown Issaquah, Washington, were closed after Issaquah Creek sent water over the roads. At least one apartment building was evacuated after the creek spilled over its banks and into the parking lot under the complex.
Dozens of watches and warnings were in effect in Washington and Oregon, including a flood warning for the northern Oregon Coast following huge amounts of rainfall.
“We are now experiencing one of the most active weather periods in a while,” Seattle-based meteorologist Cliff Mass wrote on the Seattle Weather Blog Friday afternoon.
Southwest Washington experienced its worst flooding in a decade and some rivers crested at more than 18 feet late Thursday, the National Weather Service said.
The National Weather Service said Hoquiam, Washington, received 5.78 inches of rain Thursday – the city’s wettest day ever recorded. Other areas saw nearly half of the rain they’d expect to see for the month of January in one day, according to the weather service.
Forecasters say the rains should subside over the weekend.
Contributing: The Associated Press; The Kitsap Sun