Heavy rain expected this weekend

This will be a good weekend to clean the garage — or do just about anything else indoors.

Two to three inches of rain is expected to fall in the Western Washington lowlands on Saturday and Sunday combined, and four to eight inches in the Cascade Mountains, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle.

A flood watch has been issued for the western half of the state. Any flooding in the Snohomish County area is expected to be minor, if it happens at all, said Josh Smith, a meteorologist with weather service.

The Stillaguamish River is most likely to be affected and could rise by as much as a foot above flood stage by Sunday, according to weather service projections. Spotty urban flooding is a definite possibility, Smith said.

The rain is expected to begin Friday night and “it’ll be pretty continuous, maybe a little bit of a break overnight Saturday night,” Smith said. “It’s going to come in strong again by Sunday afternoon.”

Snow levels could reach as low as 5,500 feet Saturday night, according to the weather service.

From Everett south, winds are expected to blow 15 to 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph. “Isolated power outages are possible,” Smith said.

From Everett north, winds are expected in the 25 to 35 mph range with gusts to 50 mph.

Snohomish County has flood information available online. On its website at www.snoco.org, the county has posted its Flood Guide, which includes information on how to protect your home; links to the Flood Warning System, and an interactive emergency road closure map.

The Flood Guide also is mailed to homes and businesses in designated flood plains.

The county encourages people to stock up on basic supplies, including food and water; have an emergency plan that includes evacuation routes if needed; and to check the area for plugged drains or culverts that can back up and cause flooding. The county’s surface water management division may be reached at 425-388-3311.

Hard copies of the Flood Guide are also available at local fire stations and public libraries, at the county’s Department of Emergency Management, in various locations on the county campus, or by calling the surface water division at the number listed above.

For more information on flooding, flood safety, and flood insurance, visit www.weather.gov/ and sign up for weather alerts through the National Weather Service; visit the state Emergency Management Division’s winter preparedness site at http://tinyurl.com/q6j4oy8;http://www.emd.wa.gov/preparedness/prep_infocus_winter.shtml#Floods, or a collaborative winter preparedness site, http://takewinterbystorm.org.

Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; sheets@heraldnet.com.

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