PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An atmospheric river has brought heavy rain, flooding and warm winter temperatures to the Pacific Northwest, closing roadways and schools as it shattered daily rainfall and temperature records in Washington state.
The National Weather Service on Tuesday issued flood warnings in parts of western Washington, including in areas north and east of Seattle and across a large swath of the Olympic Peninsula.
Daily rainfall records were broken in Seattle on Monday after the city received 1.5 inches of rain, said Kirby Cook, science and operations officer at the National Weather Service’s office in Seattle. “We’ll continue to see significant impacts, especially with river crests and rises on area rivers” through Wednesday morning, Cook said Tuesday.
On the peninsula, the small town of Forks saw its rainfall record for Dec. 4 more than double after it received about 3.8 inches of rain, the National Weather Service said. By early Tuesday morning, it had recorded 4.7 inches of rain over 24 hours — more rainfall than Las Vegas has received in all of 2023, according to the agency.
About 100 miles further south, daily rainfall records were also broken in Hoquiam, which received about 2.6 inches of rain on Monday, the National Weather Service said.
The agency said it expected other precipitation and temperature records in western Washington to fall on Tuesday.
A landslide closed parts of a Seattle trail popular with walkers, joggers and cyclists, the city's parks department said. Crews are assessing the damage to the Burke-Gilman Trail and are working on setting up detour routes.
Heavy rains also battered Oregon. Parts of coastal U.S. Highway 101 were closed because of flooding, including in areas around Seaside and at the junctions with U.S. Route 26 and Oregon Route 6, the state's transportation department said. At least three school districts along the Oregon coast closed for the day because of flood conditions that made it dangerous for school buses to operate.
The wet weather conditions have also brought warm temperatures to the region.
Seattle reported 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 Celsius) at 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, breaking its previous daily record high, the National Weather Service said. At 64 F (17.8 C) in Walla Walla in southwestern Washington, it was as warm as parts of Florida and Mexico, according to the agency.
Officials have urged drivers to use caution, avoid deep water on roadways and expect delays.