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More Flooding In Washington, Freezing Rain on the Way, Warm in S. Texas

8 Jan 2009, 8:53 am
Puyallup River Flooding Credit: Ted Warren AP
Puyallup River Flooding Credit: Ted Warren AP

Forecast Precipitation Type Product
Forecast Precipitation Type Product
Forecast Temperature Animation
Forecast Temperature Animation

Downtown Laredo Texas Credit: Gordon Wolford
Downtown Laredo Texas Credit: Gordon Wolford

Over 40,000 people have been asked to evacuate their homes in Washington state reports the Seattle Times, up considerably from yesterday’s total, as unrelenting rains continue to pound the beleaguered state with more forecast to occur today, in addition to snowmelt.

Our HAMweather River Center displays a cornucopia of river gauges above the flood mark, with more to be added as the rains continue to fall, with many rivers forecast not to crest until at least late today or tomorrow.

Our HAMweather Radar center storm total precipitation for Washington has topped the charts in some areas, clearly displaying the extent to which rainfall has fallen in the region.

Sixty roads have been closed statewide thus far, as the national guard dispatched additional troops to aid in containment and recovery efforts as multiple rescues have already occurred for stranded citizens in both rural and urban areas.

A startled Washington Emergency Management official, Rob Harper, described the situation succinctly by saying “We haven’t dealt with something like this before.” The situation will only get worse as many records will be broken before the flooding subsides.

A few interesting things are happening on the precipitation side of the weather spectrum over the next few days. The rains in Washington will be slowing down today as another system moves in bringing cooler temperatures that will lower snow levels to 2000 feet or so, and also severely lessen the firehose of Pacific Moisture. A viewing of our Forecast Precipitation Type Animation will show you the timing and breadth of the transition.

A little zippy system will also bring some lighter snows through the northern Great Plains late tonight and tomorrow (note Forecast Precipitation Type Animation) beginning in Montana and streaming all the way through the Great Lakes region before curving back to the northeast through New England over the weekend.

Snow totals will not be overly excessive with this system, up to around maybe five inches or so in some areas, but an important point to take note of is the red swath of mixed precipitation in the animation above that defines an area where mixed precipitation is possible (sleet / freezing rain etc). The area I’m most interested in is the line extending from North Dakota through South Dakota as each frame advances valid 3z Friday morning through 12z Friday morning. Totals will not be excessive, certainly no more than a quarter inch, but this is the type of event were light areas of ice will coat the roads that are difficult to see, and much of the spatial extent will be in rural areas that are often ignored.

Temperatures will open today with bitter arctic air in the northern Great Plains again, with places such as Thief River Falls, Minnesota enduring -6ºF with a -20ºF wind chill at the time of this writing. Unfortunately those nightly lows in the negatives will continue (animation) at least through next Wednesday, so keep your cocoa stocked up!

The folks in Laredo, Texas can snub their noses at the people of the frozen tundra however, with high temperatures in the mid 80’s today, with a solid chance of hitting 90 degrees tomorrow (animation) as warm temperatures begin streaming into the Lone Star State.

Please be sure to view our Advisory and Radar Centers for the latest updates and developments.

As always stay tuned to your favorite weather outlet, stay informed, and stay safe!



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