By Diana Hefley Herald Writer
Major flooding is being projected Wednesday for rivers in Snohomish County, with the Skykomish, Stillaguamish and Snohomish rivers all expected to be above their banks.
The Skykomish River near Gold Bar is expected to hit flood stage by sunrise as heavy rains pound the Cascades overnight. A similar prediction is in effect for the South Fork Stillaguamish River in the Robe Valley, Granite Falls and points down stream.
Flooding is expected along the Stillaguamish toward early afternoon in Arlington, and likely will be more severe than initially predicted along the Snohomish River at Monroe and Snohomish, said John Pennington, director of the Snohomish County’s Department of Emergency Management.
There also is a potential for landslides in the Oso area between Arlington and Darrington because the ground there already is saturated, Pennington said.
The National Weather Service in Seattle is predicting flooding near Monroe and Snohomish will be major by Thursday.
A flood watch for all of Western Washington was issued from 4 p.m. today through late Wednesday, as a series of storms hit the area. A high wind advisory also was issued this afternoon.
Weather forecasters and emergency planners are watching conditions in the mountains, where more than 10 inches of rain is expected to fall. That runoff is going to end up in the rivers and produce some major flooding in areas, said Johnny Burg, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle.
Rain in around Everett isn’t expected to top much above two inches, so some urban flooding is possible, but not a major threat, he said.
“Most of the rain is going to be squeezed out by the mountains. Our main concern is how much is going to fall there,” Burg said.
The rivers already are high from last week’s heavy rains. The ground is saturated and there is a threat of landslides, mainly in the mountains and south Puget Sound, Burg said. That rain-soaked ground also will mean flood waters will be slow to recede.
Snohomish County authorities are expected to crank up the emergency operation center at 6 a.m. tomorrow to respond to flooding around the county.
People living in flood-prone areas are being advised to have emergency supplies read and make plans to evacuate if the rivers begin to rise.