Quiet storm on Saturday expected to roar by today

This one, the second of three predicted this week, to be ‘biggest’

Wind and rain were reported on the North Olympic Peninsula on Saturday morning and early afternoon as a storm began to creep into a region still recovering from a massive downpour Nov. 15.

Although rain fell heavily in some areas of the Peninsula, the most intense weather was expected overnight. The National Weather Service issued a flood watch from Saturday evening through this afternoon.

“So far, so good,” said Clallam County Sheriff Ron Cameron, head of the emergency operations center, early Saturday afternoon.

But emergency management officials were bracing for more.

“This next round of rain is the biggest one we expect” from the three storms that began with the one on Thanksgiving Day and which will end with a storm predicted to hit on Tuesday, Cameron said Saturday.

Forecasters expect heavy rainfall to force a sharp rise in rivers and create more opportunities for landslides in the Olympic and northern Cascades regions as this weekend’s “atmospheric river” invades the region.

“I’m less concerned about flooding than I am about slides,” Cameron said.

“We’re kind of keeping an eye on that. After what happened in Clallam Bay, that slide will be there for a while.”

Storms on Nov. 15 caused a slide on state Highway 112 near Clallam Bay that was about 325 feet high and 275 feet wide. State Department of Transportation crews have been clearing debris but officials said that repairs will take some time.

Cameron said Friday that the massive slide continues to move because it’s so wet.

DOT had no estimate last week on when the roadway at that slide area and another on U.S. Highway 101 south of Forks would be fully open. Highway 112 remains fully closed, blocking access to Neah Bay, while Highway 101 south of Forks was opened to alternating traffic, but the hillside must be repaired to fully reopen the highway.

The extensive damage at state Highway 112 at mileposts 15.8 near Clallam Bay and 32 near Jim Creek as well as Highway 101 south of Forks will require emergency contracts to repair, DOT said.

The Clallam County Public Utility District managed a workaround the 112 slide, which also broke a water main, to resume water service in Clallam Bay.

The West End was completely shut off after the Nov. 15 storm because of three landslides triggered that day between mileposts 220 and 231 on Highway 101 around Lake Crescent. DOT crews cleared more than 5,000 yards of gravel and debris from the slides and the highway was reopened on Nov. 19.

The Elwha River Bridge on U.S. Highway 101 west of Port Angeles was reopened Nov. 17 after it had been shut down as a precaution due to the Nov. 15 storms.

With state Highway 112 closed, it’s key that U.S. Highway 101 along Lake Crescent stay open to maintain vehicle access to the West End, Cameron noted on Friday.

“As long as they keep the lake open, I’ll be happy,” Cameron said.

Both Clallam and East Jefferson counties suffered electrical power outages on Nov. 15, with the Jefferson County PUD reporting more than 11,000 without power at the peak of the storm — “one of the biggest outage incidents we’ve had in years,” the PUD reported on its Twitter feed.

As of early Saturday afternoon, Jefferson County had reported no outages and Clallam County had reported nine.

Atmospheric rivers are huge plumes of moisture extending over the Pacific Ocean and into the Northwest.

The state is still assessing millions of dollars in damage from the last atmospheric river.

Gov. Jay Inslee declared a severe weather state of emergency in Clallam and Jefferson counties, as well as in Grays Harbor, Island, Lewis, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Mason, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston and Whatcom counties.

In northwest Washington’s Whatcom County, officials said damage costs could reach as high as $50 million.

Estimates have not been reported for Clallam and Jefferson counties.

The National Weather Service predicts another storm to arrive Tuesday and continue through Wednesday.


Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at lleach@peninsuladailynews.com.

More in News

Power restored after more than 6,300 lose electricity

A fault on a Bonneville Power Administration transmission line… Continue reading

Tim Morland, front, and Rich Lear of Tualatin, Ore.-based Field Turf USA add fill to the playing surface at the new Monroe Athletic Field on Tuesday at the site of the former Monroe School near Roosevelt Elementary School in Port Angeles. The synthetic turf field, which is expected to be completed by mid-autumn, is being developed by the Port Angeles School District and will be available for community athletic events. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Monroe field prep

Tim Morland, front, and Rich Lear of Tualatin, Ore.-based Field Turf USA… Continue reading

Petitions developed by local citizens seek to keep the “new” Towne Road unpaved and open to hikers and walkers. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Public comment sought about Sequim’s Towne Road future

Meeting for residents scheduled for Tuesday

Eran Kennedy.
Sound regional publisher stresses local connections

Partnerships offer lifeline despite struggling industry

A crew from Port Townsend Public Works watches as a backhoe removes water-logged timber from a sinkhole on Kearney Street outside the Food Co-op on Tuesday at the start of construction of a traffic circle at the intersection of state Highway 20/East Sims Way and Kearney Street in Port Townsend. Traffic heading eastbound toward Port Townsend will detour at Benedict Street and turn left on Washington Street to return to Highway 20/East Sims Way. Traffic going westbound away from Port Townsend will turn right at Kearney Street and left onto Jefferson Street to continue on Highway 20. The detour configuration will last about four weeks, according to the state Department of Transportation. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Roundabout construction

A crew from Port Townsend Public Works watches as a backhoe removes… Continue reading

Members of the Bagley family of Forsyth, Ill., from left, parents Jessica and Cameron Bagley, and children Cody, 10, Addie, 12, and C.J., 7, look at an information kiosk on the Olympic National Park wildfires on Tuesday in front of the park visitor center in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Blazes spread in center of Olympic National Park

Large helicopters requested to keep fires at bay

Wreck shuts down US 101 south of Brinnon for five hours

A semitrailer driver accused of falling asleep at the wheel… Continue reading

Peninsula College sophomores Ian Coughran, left, and Ciera Skelly were two of seven students participating in the inaugural Pathway Summer School at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory this summer that focused on education and career development in STEM fields. Both Coughran and Skelly plan to pursue degrees in environmental science. (Paula Hunt/Peninsula Daily News)
Internship through college presents career pathways

Students part of inaugural class at Sequim laboratory

Most Read