High surf pounds coast; heavy snow falls in mountains

High surf pounds coast; heavy snow falls in mountains »Play Video
An energetic weather system continued its assault on Western Washington on Monday, a day after destroying an oceanfront home south of Westport, tearing a sailboat from its moorings near Sequim and triggering power outages in Seattle.

While the season's first snow fell in the Cascade passes, coastal flooding remained of great concern on Monday as waves were expected to grow to 30-35 feet tall along the shores. A buoy 300 miles off the coast of Aberdeen measured wave heights at 43 feet early Monday morning and the Grays Harbor buoy just offshore of the harbor was measuring waves at 28 feet.

The massive surf, combined with the wind, low atmospheric pressure were expected to cause flooding in the Aberdeen area around high tide at 2:45 p.m. National Weather Service forecasters said in issuing a Coastal Flood Warning for the area that flooding usually causes serious problems when tides reach 14.0 feet in Aberdeen, and the expected effects of the storm were to create a high tide around 14.1 feet.

Flood waters will enter the downtown Aberdeen area from the Wishkaw River through Zelasco Park and F Street, then proceed west along Heron and Wishkaw Streets, the National Weather Service warned. East Aberdeen, along with Wishkaw and SR-12 will become flooded.

Residents in the area are urged to be alert for rising water.

It's the second day the coast has taken the onslaught of the storm's fury, as huge breakers over 25 feet tall pounded the shoreline for most of the day Sunday. The steady assault of waves and wind demolished a home at Washaway Beach, south of Westport.

KOMO News video shows the home toppling over into the surf, along with trees that once stood in the yard outside the house, as steady winds surged.

The family that owns the home had already moved out their belongings ahead of the stormy blast, and no one was inside when the home toppled over.

Justin Grant, the homeowner, told KOMO News that the house was a mile back from the beach when his family bought it in the 1980s.

But he said they knew that the Pacific Ocean would wash it away eventually - they just didn't know how long it would take.

"We got a lot of good years out of it," Grant said.

Most of the coastal damage and flooding was caused by high waves. Winds on the coast ranged from 35 to 40 mph, with a few isolated higher gusts.

A KOMO News viewer also sent in a photo of a sailboat that was torn loose from its moorings overnight and washed up on the shoreline of Sequim Bay, where waves continued to batter it.

The storm also dumped heavy to moderate rain across the area, driving the Skokomish River right up to the edge of its banks Sunday.

Meanwhile, Seattle City Light crews worked to restore power in North Seattle, where hundreds of homes were without power.

Power outages also were reported in West Seattle and the University District.

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Snow Comes To The Mountains!

The storm's intensity managed to drop snow levels about 1,000 feet lower than originally forecast, bringing the season's first big snow to Stevens Pass and the first snowflakes to Snoqualmie Pass.

A Winter Storm Warning was in effect though 11 a.m. Tuesday for all areas above 3,000 feet. As much as 12-24" are possible above 4,000 feet by Tuesday morning -- including 15" at Stevens Pass by Wednesday and 2-4" of slushy snow at Snoqualmie Pass Monday night into Tuesday. White Pass is expecting about 12" while Chinook and the N. Cascade Pass could reach 24" by Wednesday.

It's enough snow that the DOT is now allowing studded tires a week early. Truck drivers are also urged to at least carry chains.

Snow should taper off Wednesday, but long range forecasts look like we'll continue to deal with occasional snow in the passes for at least the next two weeks.

A Blustery Monday Inland

The storm center is expected to drift inland Monday into central British Columbia, slowly weakening as it does so.

 The storm washed a sailboat ashore in Sequim Bay overnight. (Photo by Mike Hovis, Hovis Design, Sequim)

As the storm passes us to the north, it will continue to generate gusty winds across Western Washington and pound the coast with high surf and heavy swells. For wind, gusts in the Puget Sound area will continue to be around 25-35 mph, with gusts to 40 likely along the Puget Sound shorelines. The typical windier spots north of Everett like Whidbey Island could see gusts to 45 mph. At this point, there are no wind advisories but the Northwest Interior areas might qualify for a low-rung wind advisory at some point.

Wind would not die down until at least Monday night - perhaps even Tuesday morning. A fall chill will be in the air with highs in the low-mid 50s Monday.

We'll taper back to showers and sunbreaks for Tuesday, although it will remain chilly with highs struggling to get to the low 50s both days. We are still holding for a dry day on Wednesday, but more rain is expected after that.