Several big storms are forecast to bring heavy rain, flooding, and potential landslides to Washington this week. According to the National Weather Service, "These storm systems will result in rising snow levels and moderate to heavy rain at times, increasing runoff and resulting in rising river levels across the region as well as the potential for landslides." It's also worth noting that a Flood Watch has been issued for Northwest Washington by the National Weather Service.
As you can see from the weather forecasts below, Washington is expected to receive a lot of precipitation (rain and snow) over the next few days:
Since landslides are a possibility, residents of Washington State should be careful during adverse weather conditions. According to the US Geological Survey, you should "listen for any unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together. A trickle of flowing or falling mud or debris may precede larger landslides. Moving debris can flow quickly and sometimes without warning."
While driving on the roads, it's important to remember that bridges and roads may be washed out underneath floodwaters. Therefore, it's a bad idea to drive through flooded areas since you might get stranded or injured. According to the National Weather Service, "Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV's) and pick-ups."
Flash floods are especially dangerous in densely populated urban areas. Buildings, highways, driveways, and parking lots contribute to runoff by lowering the quantity of rain absorbed by the ground. Streams that run through cities and towns are sometimes diverted underground into storm drains. Those storm drains can become overwhelmed or clogged by debris during heavy rain, thus flooding neighboring roads and buildings. According to NOAA, underpasses, underground parking garages, basements, and low water crossings can all be dangerous during a flood.
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