Coastal flooding affected Hoquiam on Monday afternoon as the river spilled over the levee behind Al’s Hum-Dinger Restaurant.
Beginning shortly before high tide at 1:05 p.m., water rose on to Lincoln Street, which was quickly closed by Hoquiam Police Department (HPD) personnel to prevent further damage to homes and businesses nearby.
According to HPD Chief Jeff Myers, officers were drawn to the area by a call that a pipe had potentially burst at Hum-Dinger Restaurant. As the water continued to rise and debris was dragged upriver, the rising tide was identified as the source of flooding.
“We didn’t anticipate the water to be this high. We contacted county emergency management and they had received no forewarning,” Myers said.
The HFD worked quickly to offer evacuation services to residents of at least six houses in the 800 block of Lincoln Street before moving over to the encroaching flooding on H Street. The river also submerged Central Playfield and spilled over near 8th and Levee streets. There were reports of localized flooding throughout Hoquiam around 1 p.m.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Seattle issued a coastal flood warning through Monday afternoon for the North and Central Washington Coast.
“Minor flooding, one to two feet above ground level, is possible around high tide. This may lead to flooding of lots, parks, and roads with only isolated road closures expected,” stated the coastal hazard message issued Monday morning.
While the unexpected surge of the Hoquiam River has yet to be determined, a coastal system passed through Sunday evening that brought strong gusts of wind to Grays Harbor County and another round of wintry mix into Monday morning. According to National Weather Service (NWS) Seattle Forecaster Maddie Kristell, gusts in the evening reached 30-35 mph in coastal areas, with 30 mph gusts persisting into early Monday morning.
Cool and showery conditions are expected to continue into Tuesday. All precipitation is likely to be rain due to above-freezing temperatures this week.
A new weather system arriving on Wednesday and Thursday brings less certainty. While rain is anticipated in the coastal areas, a combination of rain and snow is possible.
River floods remain a concern in Grays Harbor County throughout the week, with the United States Geological Survey issuing an alert for high water levels in the Chehalis River near Montesano.
“Low-elevation rivers could experience rises after this coming week’s storms, but it is still too early to predict what rivers may be affected,” Kristell said.