Heavy rains, strong winds punctuate a very soggy weekend

Heavy rains, strong winds punctuate a very soggy weekend »Play Video
Heavy rain floods a street in Kent. (Photo by KOMO viewer Hannah Brown)
SEATTLE – If Saturday was an appetizer, Sunday is promising to be one heck of a main course.

The first of two very potent storms rolled through Western Washington Saturday, bringing record heavy rains and strong winds as the October stormy season got off to an early start. And a second storm Sunday now has potential to bring damaging winds to some parts of the region.

Sea-Tac Airport reported an amazing 1.63" of rain through 10 p.m. Saturday, not only nearly doubling the daily record of 0.83", and not only surpassing Seattle's entire monthly September rainfall average (1.50") but coming just short of setting the record for all time wettest September day in Seattle history (1.65" set twice, in 1978 and 1953).

Rainfall totals were even greater in the South Sound where 2.5" of rain was reported in parts of Pierce and southern King County and nearly 3 inches fell in Olympia. A spotter in Bangor on the Kitsap Peninsula reported 3.21" of rain over a 24 hour period.

The winds were no slouch either, reaching 60 mph in North Bend, 53 mph in Hoquiam, 45 mph in Oak Harbor, and 43 mph in Everett. Seattle and Tacoma areas generally gusted between 30 and 35 mph.

The heavy rains and strong winds combined to create urban flooding, scattered power outages and downed trees across Western Washington. Some streets were flooded in Kent and Tacoma, including Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma and E. James Street in downtown Kent.

A downed tree temporarily closed all lanes of Aurora Avenue North when it brought down power lines there.

On Orcas Island, firefighters called for volunteers to fill sandbags in response to flooding at a post office there.

• View the Western Washington radar loop »

There will be brief lull with lighter rain Saturday night and early Sunday until a second front races ashore on Sunday, increasing the rain and wind once again.

This storm has potential to bring even stronger winds, especially to the coast and Northwest Interior as some forecast models indicate a powerful center of low pressure will make landfall just off the north coast late Sunday evening into Sunday night. The day will see gradually increasing rain and then a sharp increase in wind late Sunday evening and Sunday night.

A High Wind Watch, which means strong winds gusting over 58 mph are possible, but not certain yet, is now in effect from Sunday afternoon through Sunday night from about the Seattle-Bremerton-Bellevue areas north to the Canadian border, and the coast. There is still some uncertainty in the models as to how that storm will play out, but suffice to say it will be a very windy late Sunday evening and Sunday night along the coast and north interior with potential at this point for gusts of 55-60 mph. For the Puget Sound area, as mentioned the watch extends south through Everett to about Seattle who could see also gusts of 45-60 mph, but the higher gusts would be toward the exposed areas near the water.

Further south areas like Tacoma and Olympia will likely see lesser wind speeds of about 40-50 mph and will probably get a Wind Advisory when the time draws closer.

All areas should be aware of potential for downed trees and power lines, especially since the trees still have much of their foliage.

Meanwhile, by Sunday, as much as 2-2.5 inches of rain will have fallen in the lowlands and as much as 5-10 inches of rain will have fallen in the mountains, putting pressure on area rivers. A Flood Watch remains in effect through Monday for all mountain-fed rivers in Western Washington, although those with the greatest potential for some flooding are those that flow off the Olympics – especially the Skokomish.

Stormy weather ends by Monday morning but a cool, showery pattern will remain through the middle of the week.