PORT ANGELES — The National Weather Service has set a high wind watch for today into tonight for Clallam and Jefferson counties, on the heels of a flood watch that was set to expire at 10 p.m. Thursday.
Gusts could reach 60 mph today.
The agency is expecting 20- to 25-foot waves along the coast as part of a high surf advisory set for 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today in both counties.
The brunt of rainfall that began Tuesday has fallen on Clallam County’s West End.
It flooded the grounds of Quileute Oceanside Resort with up to about 2 feet of water by Thursday morning and inundating Forks with 4½ inches of rain over 24 hours by Thursday afternoon.
“We brought in sandbags to fight water from going into the basement,” resort Manager Larry Donnelly said Thursday morning, estimating that 2 inches already covered the floor.
“We thought about starting to gather the animals,” he quipped.
Quileute Fire Chief Chris Morganroth IV said the flooding was from nearby Lonesome Creek, which was plugged before the storm, which aggravated the blockage.
Emergency management and fire department officials said Port Angeles and Port Townsend were spared any serious rainfall events.
Neah Bay and parts of Sekiu also were without power for extended periods, Neah Bay from about 9 a.m. Tuesday to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, said Ron Cameron, Clallam County undersheriff and emergency management director.
East Jefferson Fire-Rescue spokesman Bill Beezley said his home in Port Townsend was included in a series of electrical brown-outs when lights flickered or power was briefly lost.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Detective Joe Nole said the only weather incident he knew of as of Thursday afternoon was a power pole down on the county’s West End.
West of Port Angeles, both lanes of U.S. Highway 101 from near Sol Duc Hot Springs Road to near Lake Crescent were blocked from 11 p.m. Wednesday to 6:30 a.m. Thursday.
About 9-12 miles of roadway was blocked.
At least two downed trees closed the highway, a state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Claudia Bingham Baker said.
“A lot of limbs and debris were falling on the road,” she said.
“We could surmise it was wind, but we don’t know for sure.”
For safety reasons, crews waited until the early morning hours to cut free and push the trees off the highway with plow trucks, Bingham Baker said.
Trees also blocked 101 near Nolan Creek south of Forks between 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Thursday, according to a DOT email alert.
And water was reported over the roadway on 101 southbound near Upper Hoh Road beginning at 6:40 a.m. Thursday.
Water was still flooding the thoroughfare at 3:10 p.m. Thursday, the state Department of Transportation said in an email alert.
Cameron said no flooding events were reported to emergency operations east of Forks.
“Flooding is not so much an issue,” he said.
“It’s the wind that bothers me,” Cameron said, citing trees falling on roadways.
A heavy flood watch for Clallam, Jefferson and Grays Harbor counties continued through Thursday.
Fears that the Bogachiel River would exceed minor flood stage of 37 feet were abating by Thursday afternoon, National Weather Service Meteorologist Samantha Borth said.
“Anything along that river can get flooded,” she said. “Now, it looks like it will crest before then. We are monitoring it closely.”
The floodwatch was to be re-assessed at 10 p.m. Thursday, Borth added.
Rain was expected to subside in Clallam and Jefferson counties to a tenth of an inch to a quarter-inch accumulation Friday.
Donnelly said guests at the Quileute Oceanside Resort, which includes 43 cabins with no TV or individual internet service, were taking the weather well.
“Some guests who left the motel managed to navigate out of there,” Donnelly said.
“There are some adventuresome souls out there,” he said, optimistically, of reservations for today and the weekend.
“If they want to come out and experience the resort, then come on down.”
As of Thursday morning, guests still there would have had a hard time getting their caffeine fix from the resort’s espresso stand.
The steps were under water.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].