WEATHER: National Weather Service issues ‘Flood Watch’ warning


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Photo by Gregory Rehmke of a rain storm on Lake Burien on July 25, 2009.

The National Weather Service issued a ‘Flood Watch’ for Thursday afternoon (Sept. 5) through Friday, predicting rain rates of “a half inch an hour or more.”

According to noted UW Meteorologist Cliff Mass, “a band of strong showers will be moving northward late in the afternoon (very wet in Portland then) and pushing northward into Washington State during the early evening.  THAT is the big rain threat.”

We recommend that all our Readers take some proactive measures and clear out their nearest storm drains, bring in that nice summer outdoor tablecloth and batten down your trusty blue tarps!

You know it’s serious when the Weather Peeps publish it in ALL CAPS:

A FLOOD WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR FLOODING BUT FLOODING IS NOT IMMINENT OR OCCURRING. MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND BE READY TO ACT QUICKLY IF FLOODING IS OBSERVED OR A WARNING IS ISSUED.

Here’s the full warning:

SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL IS ANTICIPATED THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH FRIDAY. HEAVIEST RAINFALL IS EXPECTED LATER TONIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING FROM THE OLYMPICS EASTWARD ALTHOUGH THUNDERSTORMS THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING COULD PRODUCE RAIN RATES OF A HALF INCH AN HOUR OR MORE. THERE IS THE POTENTIAL FOR 1 TO 2 INCHES OF RAIN IN THE LOWLANDS AND UP TO 4 INCHES IN THE CASCADES BY LATE FRIDAY AFTERNOON.

* THE POTENTIALLY EXCESSIVE RAINFALL COULD LEAD TO URBAN AND SMALL STREAM FLOODING. A SHORT PERIOD OF INTENSE RAINFALL WITH THUNDERSTORMS THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING COULD CAUSE FLASH FLOODING AND OVERWHELM STORM DRAINS…LEADING TO FLOODED ROADS. MUD OR ROCK SLIDES ARE ALSO POSSIBLE IN STEEP MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN. EXPECT SIGNIFICANT RISES ON AREA RIVERS BUT FLOODING IS UNLIKELY.

And here are some warnings issued by King County:

KING COUNTY IMPACTS:

  • Possibility of urban and small stream flooding, due to heavy rainfall.
  • Possible short periods of intense rain could cause flash flooding and overwhelm storm drains, leading to flooded roadways.
  • Area rivers are expected to have significant rises, but remain below flood stage.

KEY PUBLIC MESSAGES:

  • Expect decreased visibility when traveling in heavy rainfall – take it slow and be patient.
  • Never drive through standing water.
  • Check your basements and take precautions in case of flooding.
  • Look around your yard and nearby roads for debris that could cause a back-up in ditches and drains.
  • If you live or work in a flood plain, register for flood alerts at www.kingcounty.gov/flood

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