Heavy rains snarl traffic, cancel Sounder service

  • Mon Nov 19th, 2012 6:04pm
  • News

By Eric Stevick Herald Writer

EVERETT — Heavy rain caused soggy soil, rising rivers and traffic hassles Monday in several Snohomish County communities.

More than 1.7 inches fell on Paine Field airport in Everett between midnight and the late afternoon. That followed nearly an inch of rain in parts of Everett on Sunday.

Gusty winds Monday brought another set of challenges in north Snohomish County. Roughly 250 customers, including the Navy commissary, lost power in north Marysville for about two hours and there were other scattered outages elsewhere, according to the Snohomish County PUD.

The forecast doesn’t get much better Tuesday.

More rain is expected through Wednesday with a break in the weather forecast for Thanksgiving Day, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle.

Rain-soaked roads were closed in Bothell and Mountlake Terrace on Monday and the downpour turned a stretch of Airport Road in Everett into a large wading pool.

Mudslides on the bluffs bordering Puget Sound also canceled Sounder North train service from Seattle to Everett on Monday evening. Train traffic will resume after 1 p.m. Wednesday if the tracks remain clear, transit officials said.

In Mountlake Terrace, Hall Creek spilled its banks Monday afternoon, forcing the closure of two thoroughfares for several hours.

Police barricaded 216th Street SW and 220th Street SW near Highway 99 because of the high water.

“It just overwhelmed the capacity of the stream,” Mountlake Terrace police Cmdr. Doug Hansen said. “It just became a torrent. Our traffic is a mess.”

Urban flooding also brought grief to other Mountlake Terrace neighborhoods, including a cul de sac at 53rd Place West where water rose to the grille of a Ford Mustang parked in front of one home. Public works crews brought in sandbags and pumps to try to divert water.

“You get a ton of rain in a short amount of time and you find out where your weak spots are,” said Chad Phelan, a management analyst with the city’s public works department.

The flooding kept firefighters in south Snohomish County busy.

“We had several calls from homes with flooded basements in Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds,” Snohomish County Fire District 1 spokeswoman Leslie Hynes said.

The heavy rain caused sewer outfalls in Everett to overflow into the Snohomish River and Port Gardner Bay on Monday. Just how much waste escaped was unknown, officials said. Everett notified local agencies including state departments of health and ecology as well as the Snohomish Health District and Port of Everett.

The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for several rivers, including the Stillaguamish. An advisory means nothing is imminent but people should monitor river levels.

On Monday, the biggest concern was city streets and creeks rather than the rivers.

“We’re always watching the river and local creeks and streams,” Arlington city spokeswoman Kristin Banfield said. “Our crews have been out every day for the past two months sweeping the streets to get as many of the leaves up as we can.”

Crews also were checking storm drains and detention ponds to make sure they are clear to handle the rainy season.

The storm brought good news for Stevens Pass with more than 24 inches of snow in a 24-hour period. The ski resort announced that it will open for the season on Tuesday. The ski area will be open from noon to 4 p.m. on Tuesday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com.