WA copes with excessive rain

Parts of Washington State are dealing with 26 consecutive days of rain.

BY HEATHER MOYER | SEATTLE, Wash. | January 12, 2006

Parts of Washington State are dealing with 26 consecutive days of rain - and the weekend forecast sees no end to the rainfall.

The weekend weather is expected to bring more rain to the inundated region where rain has already brought rivers to flood stage and caused mudslides.

Authorities in Thurston County advised residents near the lower end of the Nisqually River to stay out of their homes Wednesday night due to the high water. Keith Eisner, public information officer for Thurston County Emergency Management, said the river's levels were dropping early Thursday, but the coming weekend of rain doesn't bode well for the residents.

"We're hoping the rain will spread itself out," he explained. "But another factor we have to worry about is snow melt. If we get warm weather from any direction, the snow melting will then come down."

Eisner said no homes were damaged overnight Wednesday, but the river is up to the doorsteps on some homes and well into the yards of other homes in the eastern part of the county along the Nisqually.

Mudslides disrupted train service when several popular routes were cut off this week. Amtrak was forced to bus passengers to certain locations when tracks were covered by rocks. Interstate 5 between Olympia and Seattle was cut off briefly when mud and rocks fell across the highway.

Much of Washington and northern Oregon are under flood watches as rivers rise and standing water has no place to go in low-lying locations. National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologists say Friday is Seattle's 26th consecutive day of rainfall, which is close to the record set in 1953 of 33 days. The city's rainfall amount since October 1 is more than two inches above normal.

Most of the Pacific Northwest coast is under gale warnings as well. In western Washington, winter weather advisories are in effect and wind gusts of up to 56 mph were clocked in some areas.

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