City of Hoquiam and State Department of Transportation workers, along with Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers, assess the slide that closed State Route 109 just west of milepost 2 early Tuesday morning. The roadway was blocked in both directions with a detour set up at the State Route 109 spur. (Dan Hammock/Grays Harbor News Group)

City of Hoquiam and State Department of Transportation workers, along with Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers, assess the slide that closed State Route 109 just west of milepost 2 early Tuesday morning. The roadway was blocked in both directions with a detour set up at the State Route 109 spur. (Dan Hammock/Grays Harbor News Group)

Heavy rain causes slides, some flooding

  • Wed Jan 8th, 2020 8:46am
  • News

Grays Harbor News Group staff

Days of heavy rain are taking their toll all over Grays Harbor County.

On Tuesday, the Satsop and Chehalis rivers flooded fields and covered side roads in parts of East County on Tuesday. Also, State Route 109 to the North Beach was closed in two places by landslides — one just west of Hoquiam.

Grays Harbor Emergency Management closed about a dozen roads across the county because of flooding or landslides.

“We have a couple landslides that have occurred (Monday night and Tuesday) morning. One slide is near Moclips on State Route 109 at milepost 34. The last report I got was that it was still blocking both lanes,” Hannah Cleverly, the GHEM deputy director, said Tuesday morning.

“The other slide is on State Route 109 at milepost 2, just west of 109 spur in Hoquiam,” she said. “That slide is still active. They are still watching it and seeing what it will do. They have a (Washington State Department of Transportation) geologist on scene assessing the slide. I expect it to be closed at least into this afternoon or evening.”

The slide near Moclips forced the closure of Taholah schools on Tuesday.

During the closure, travelers in Hoquiam can detour using SR 109 and Powell Road. There is no detour available for the SR 109 closure north of Moclips, the state DOT said.

The local rainfall totals for Monday were 1.66 inches in Aberdeen and a Jan. 6 record 2.57 inches at Bowerman Airport in Hoquiam, according to the National Weather Service. The previous record for that date was 1.39 inches, set in 1997.

More heavy rain is expected on Friday, the National Weather Service said.

The slide that closed Basich Boulevard in Aberdeen on Dec. 22 has worsened, causing the roadway to collapse further. The road connects the Grays Harbor Community Hospital area with the Broadway Heights and Bel Aire residential neighborhoods and provides one route down the hill from the hospital.

City Engineer Kris Koski said Tuesday morning that Public Works crews and the city’s geotechnical engineer were monitoring the slide.

In Aberdeen, 11-foot tides, which are considered fairly high, will occur around midday each day from Wednesday through the weekend. Wednesday’s high tide is at 10:50 a.m., then a little later each day after that. Sunday’s high tide will occur just before 2 p.m.

Standing water, over roadways and nearly up to doorsteps in some cases, was causing problems in parts of East County.

“Various roads are closed due to flooding. The Satsop River is in flood warning and the Chehalis River near Porter is in flood warning,” Cleverly said Tuesday.

The flood warning was to be in effect until Friday afternoon. The Chehalis River was expected to crest about a foot above flood stage around 10 p.m. Wednesday.

The National Weather Service said Tuesday that “the Chehalis River in Grays Harbor will flood low pasture lands and some roads. High tidal levels at Aberdeen will worsen flooding along the lower reaches.”

Cleverly stressed the dangers that come with floodwater.

“People should not drive through any water. It only takes a small amount of water to lift a car up,” she said. “One of the sayings we like people to remember is ‘Turn around, don’t drown.’ Don’t ever enter into flooded roadways. We don’t want anybody to pass through flooded roads. If you come across a road that is flooded and doesn’t have any signage, please call the Grays Harbor Communications non-emergency number (360-533-8765) and let us know.”

County roads closed on Tuesday included DeKay Road, Wenzel Slough Road, Newman Creek Road, Black Creek Road, North River Road, Robertson Road, Tulips Road, Dwinell Road and Hiram Hall Road.

GHEM’s website lists current road closures: www.co.grays-harbor.wa.us/departments/emergency_management/road_closures.php

Another heavy dose of rain Tuesday night was expected to give way to a bit of a break from the heavy stuff Wednesday and Thursday, according to National Weather Service forecaster Justin Pullin.

“Then we’re right back into it Friday with another wet system coming through,” he said. Accumulations of an inch or two of rain could be possible through Friday night, with the chance of rain back up to 100%.

“The big thing we’re looking at now over the weekend it’s going to be cooling down quite a bit,” said Pullin. “Saturday and Sunday night and into next week, we’re throwing that question mark in the air as far as precipitation goes, whether or not it falls as snow.”

The forecast as of Tuesday afternoon called for a chance of rain in the region over the weekend, but with temperatures falling into the mid-30s the possibility of some snow lingers. There is no word yet on any possible accumulation, but overall expect cooler temperatures and a chance of precipitation this weekend.

 

The landslide on Basich Boulevard in Aberdeen on Tuesday morning after heavy overnight rain. (Thorin Sprandel | Grays Harbor News Group)

The landslide on Basich Boulevard in Aberdeen on Tuesday morning after heavy overnight rain. (Thorin Sprandel | Grays Harbor News Group)

State Route 109 south of Taholah was closed in both directions until further notice after this landslide covered the roadway late Monday night. (Photo courtesy WSDOT)

State Route 109 south of Taholah was closed in both directions until further notice after this landslide covered the roadway late Monday night. (Photo courtesy WSDOT)

A house is surrounded by floodwaters Tuesday along the Mox-Chehalis Road near Porter. Grays Harbor Emergency Management advises drivers to turn around when they see water over a roadway. The National Weather Service in Seattle issued a flood warning for the Chehalis River on Tuesday morning. (Michael Lang | Grays Harbor News Group)

A house is surrounded by floodwaters Tuesday along the Mox-Chehalis Road near Porter. Grays Harbor Emergency Management advises drivers to turn around when they see water over a roadway. The National Weather Service in Seattle issued a flood warning for the Chehalis River on Tuesday morning. (Michael Lang | Grays Harbor News Group)

A vehicle drives through water flowing over Newman Creek Road into a field near Satsop on Tuesday. The National Weather Service in Seattle issued a flood warning for the Satsop River. (Michael Lang | Grays Harbor News Group)

A vehicle drives through water flowing over Newman Creek Road into a field near Satsop on Tuesday. The National Weather Service in Seattle issued a flood warning for the Satsop River. (Michael Lang | Grays Harbor News Group)