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Heavy Rains Cause Mudslides, Flooding, Evacuation In Western Washington

Police are urging residents of a Hoquiam neighborhood to evacuate because of landslide danger, after heavy overnight rains caused mudslides and flooding through Grays Harbor County.

Police Chief Jeff Meyers says an eight-block section of Queets Avenue at the base of the Beacon Hill bluff is in danger. Cascading water has already washed out foundations of three homes.

Residents have been advised to evacuate, but Meyers does not have a number. He says firefighters are evacuating about 60 residents of a nursing home in the neighborhood as a precaution.

Streets in Aberdeen and Hoquiam are flooded. The Transportation Department says landslide have closed Highway 101 in two places and have also blocked Highway 12 and Highway 107.

In King County, two rivers east of Seattle have reached the phase 4 flood alert stage, indicating severe flood danger. The Tolt and Snoqualmie rivers both hit levels as high as they’ve been in six years, says Doug Williams with the King County Flood Warning Center.  

Williams says there are numerous road closures throughout the Snoqualmie valley, with sometimes fast-moving floodwaters covering highways. He says it’s never a good idea to try to drive through.

“That’s the number one cause of death during flooding, is people driving through standing water, around a road closure sign and getting inundated with swift, deep water that can become tragic in a big hurry," he said. 

Authorities warn that as little as 6 inches of water can float a vehicle. And flooded roadways may become damaged beneath the inundation, creating hazards that can trap drivers (see list of road closures). 

High volumes on the Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers may be easing as the rain tapers off, but some areas such as Carnation and Duvall are expected to see continued flooding as the water moves downriver, through Tuesday morning or afternoon.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat for KNKX, where she has worked since 1999. From 2000-2012, she covered the business and labor beat. Bellamy has a deep interest in Indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea. She has a masters in journalism from Columbia University.