Forks rainfall sets a record

Section of Highway 112 reopens after storm soaked Peninsula, blew down power lines

January was the wettest month on record for Forks, with the greatest daily amount — more than 4 inches — falling on Friday, the National Weather Service said.

The total January precipitation measured at Quillayute Airport was 30.78 inches, the weather service said on Saturday. The normal amount is 14.61 inches.

The old record for January was set in 2006 when 24.02 inches were measured at the airport near Forks. The monthly record was 29.14 inches in November 1983.

Friday’s total was 4.01 inches.

Saturday morning, the weather service based in Seattle said that the heaviest rainfall had moved east. Wind speeds were expected to subside during the day. Showers — some perhaps mixed with snow in the lowlands — were forecast through Monday, said Brent Bower, hydrologist with the weather service in Seattle.

Rainfall has swollen rivers and weakened hillsides. The weather services warns of flooding and landslides.

Temperatures — which in Port Angeles jumped from 52 to 63 degrees between 12:20 p.m. and 12:53 p.m. Friday as the front blew in — are expected to dip to around freezing on the North Olympic Peninsula this weekend.

High winds had left a total of 5,965 customers without electrical power by 4 p.m. Friday in Clallam County — with the majority on the West End due to problems with Bonneville Power Administration lines — and over 3,700 by 7 p.m. Friday in Jefferson County, with most in South County, according to public utility district spokespeople.

All Clallam County customers but three were back on line by 4:12 p.m. Saturday, said Nicole Clark, Clallam County Public Utility District spokesperson.

“Let’s keep our fingers crossed because it’s still blowing,” she said.

Jefferson County, with crews working overnight, was down to 61 customers without power by 4:14 p.m. Saturday.

“I’m hoping that they will have this wrapped up this evening,” said Will O’Donnell, Jefferson County PUD spokesperson, adding, “stress that I’m hoping.”

Port Angeles Public Works and Utilities Director Thomas Hunter said that the 750 city customers who lost power Friday had it restored by about 6:30 p.m. that day.

“The crews did a phenomenal job,” he said.

The maximum wind gust overnight Friday was 51 mph at Hurricane Ridge, followed closely by 50 mph gusts at Ellis Mountain near Clallam Bay, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle.

The Quillayute Airport near Forks recorded a top gust of 47 mph.

The highest wind gust in Port Townsend was recorded at 56 mph, with a 39 mph gust in Port Hadlock and a 35 mph gust in Quilcene.

Wind gusts reached 41 mph in Port Angeles and 35 mph in Sequim.

The highest gusts in the state were recorded at Upper Chinook Pass at 115 mph and 110 mph at Mount Baker.

The Hood Canal Bridge was reopened at 10:43 p.m. Friday night after high winds prompted closures earlier in the day.

Those closures resulted in cancellations of Friday games for the Forks High School basketball teams and the Crescent School District girls’ basketball team in Clallam Bay.

Also postponed was a town hall meeting Friday in Port Angeles. Congressman Derek Kilmer could not get across the bridge.

Residents of the 6th Congressional District — which includes the North Olympic Peninsula — can join Kilmer on Facebook live at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 10. The stream will be at www.facebook.com/derek.kilmer. It will be available on Facebook after the event for those who could not join while it was live.

A portion of state Highway 112 reopened Sunday at around 11 a.m. after it was closed to traffic Saturday because of water over the roadway in both directions from milepost 29 near Pillar Point Road to milepost 24 near Green Creek, according to the state Department of Transportation (DOT).

Water was reported over the roadway on state Highway 110 near Mora Road earlier on Saturday but it was cleared by 1:14 p.m, DOT said.

Trees were reported down on U.S. Highway 101 near La Poel Picnic Grounds and near Camp David Road, as well as on state Highway 112 near Gossett Road earlier Saturday, with all resolved by mid-afternoon.

Hurricane Ridge Road was open on Saturday and was expected to be open today. On Saturday morning, 80 inches — more than six feet — of snow were reported at the ridge’s sensor.

State ferry service between Port Townsend and Coupeville was disrupted by high wind and rough seas on Saturday. Afternoon sailings were canceled through at least the 3:30 p.m. sailing from Port Townsend and the 4:15 p.m. sailing from Coupeville. More sailings might be canceled, according to Washington State Ferries at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Coho ferry, which runs between Port Angeles and Victoria, is in dry dock until Feb. 7.

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Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].

Reporter Rob Ollikainen contributed to this story.

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