Seattle, WA

Atmospheric river brings flood watch to Washington state

Liam Ford
An atmospheric river is expected to bring 5 to 10 inches of rain to the Olympics.| Photo via PxHere

SEATTLE, WA — The National Weather Service is warning of potential floods resulting from snowmelt runoff caused by heavy rain.

“Flooding caused by excessive rainfall is possible,” the NWS said in a flood watch today. “Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations.

An atmospheric river, a column of water vapor transported from the tropics, is expected to move into western Washington tonight. Its arrival coincides with rising temperatures, which will see the snowline rise up to 5,000 feet tonight and 8,000 feet by Wednesday.

Heavy rains — between 5 and 10 inches — are expected over the Olympics through till Wednesday. The North Cascades should see 3 to 5 inches, while the Central and Southern Cascades are to expect 2 to 4 inches.

Rivers flowing out of the Olympics could break their banks as early as Tuesday, while rivers from the Cascades could begin to flood as early as Wednesday.

The atmospheric river is expected to lift late Wednesday. The flood warning remains in effect until Thursday morning.

Residents in low-lying areas are advised to prepare to take action if flooding does occur.

The flood watch is in effect for northwest and west-central Washington counties, including Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, King, Mason, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom.

Meanwhile, the detailed forecast for Seattle calls for rain until Wednesday, with chances tapering off Thursday, with a 30 percent likelihood. A slight chance of rain returns Friday night through the weekend.

Temperatures will bottom out at 40 F on Thursday night, and hit a high of 54 F on Wednesday afternoon.

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