Record Rainfall Falls On Area; Landslide Danger Remains

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Underneath these dinghys and picnic table lies a physical, wooden dock that is usually above the waterline of Lake Burien, but Thursday is partially submerged due to the record rainfalls. Photo by Cynthia Reid.

According to the National Weather Service, a record amount of rainfall fell at Sea-Tac Airport on Wednesday, Jan. 7th – 2.29 inches!

This kicks the butt of the lame old record, which was a paltry 1.33 inches, set in 1996.

We’re going into a slight dry spell now, with just an 80% chance of rain Thursday, with more clearing on Friday.

However, the massive amounts of moisture that fell are now either overflowing rivers and streams, or overflowing the soil, and the danger for landslides is still high; here’s a list of signs to look for if you live in a known slide area (courtesy the USGS website)

  • Springs, seeps, or saturated ground in areas that have not typically been wet before.
  • New cracks or unusual bulges in the ground, street pavements or sidewalks.
  • Soil moving away from foundations.
  • Ancillary structures such as decks and patios tilting and/or moving relative to the main house.
  • Tilting or cracking of concrete floors and foundations.
  • Broken water lines and other underground utilities.
  • Leaning telephone poles, trees, retaining walls or fences.
  • Offset fence lines.
  • Sunken or down-dropped road beds.
  • Rapid increase in creek water levels, possibly accompanied by increased turbidity (soil content).
  • Sudden decrease in creek water levels though rain is still falling or just recently stopped.
  • Sticking doors and windows, and visible open spaces indicating jambs and frames out of plumb.
  • A faint rumbling sound that increases in volume is noticeable as the landslide nears.
  • Unusual sounds, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together, might indicate moving debris.

Also, the Cedar River in Renton was above its “flood stage” at 15.8 feet Thursday morning; flood stage is 12.0 feet. A Flood Warning remains in effect for it until Saturday evening, and its expected that the Cedar will crest around 16.4 feet at Noon Friday, flooding areas of Renton, including the airport.

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