Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

January 10, 2009

A River Runs Through It

Or more like 30+ rivers. We've been preoccupied with our weather situation again. It seems as though we haven't gotten a break since the first snow in mid-December! The only sunny, clear day I can remember was Friday, 12/19. We had 8" of snow and it was in the 20's. This past week the rains returned, in the form of what is known on the west coast as a "Pineapple Express", which is a storm system that flows up from tropical Hawai'i and soaks us for days with nonstop, teeming rain. It's generally mild and sometimes preceeded by a little bit of wind. It's trademark is the huge amount of rain that gets dumped on us. This time, the rain fell on large quantities of snow, and compounded the flooding problem.

The rivers that flooded, to name a few, are: Satsop, Snohomish, Skykomish, Puyallup, Skagit, Cedar, Carbon, Wynoochee, Stillaguamish, Pilchuck, Nisqually, Skookumchuck, Deschutes, Chehalis, Tolt, Nooksack, Newaukum, White & Wallace. Scores of offshoot creeks also overflowed their banks. From Canada to Oregon, Western Washington was under water for a few days last week.

To add insult to injury, the Army Corp of Engineers had to release water from the Mud Mountain Dam down the White River, and they forgot to inform the City of Pacific, so no one saw it coming. It's a mess of mud and debris. People are pissed and I don't blame them.

No one was exempt from this storm. All of the east/west passes through the Cascades were closed because of avalanches and mudslides. People were stranded on either side of the mountains. I-5, the major interstate that runs 1,380 miles from Mexico to Canada, was shut down for 20 miles because the Chehalis River was over the road.

This is a pic of a home in Fall City, up north, on Rte. 202. King County

Flooded Sumner Meadow Golf Links. Bonney Lake is on top of that hill above the Links. Pierce County
124th Street Bridge which spans the Snoqualmie River under normal circumstances. The River flooded it. King County

Lt. Governor Brad Owen flies over flooded Centralia, which is south, between Olympia & Oregon. Lewis County

Chehalis, WA, near Centralia. Lewis County

I-5 in Chehalis. Lewis County. Having I-5 closed costs companies millions and millions of dollars in lost revenue b/c the freight can't move. The truckers don't get paid unless they are hauling. This flood is the LAST thing our local economy needed.
All train service was canceled because the tracks in Chehalis were flooded. There was no north/south Amtrak or freight service for a few days. Lewis County

I-5, Chehalis. Lewis County
Here's an aerial view of River Road, the Puyallup River and the flooded farmland on the other side of River Road. This is the road I have taken to get to/from work every day for the past 8 years. It wasn't closed, but the river was nearly road level when I drove home. Traffic was awful b/c Levee Road on the other side of the river was closed. Pierce County
River Road at the 66th Street Bridge, Puyallup. I pass this bridge every day. Pierce County
Puyallup. Pierce County
Puyallup River. Pierce County
Intersection of Hwy. 203 & the Woodinville-Duvall Road, in Duvall. King County

Lots of flooding way up north, in Ferndale, which is about 35 miles from the Canadian border.
Whatcom County

Snoqualmie Falls is almost unrecognizable. King County

The valley town of Orting, which is below Bonney Lake, was advised to evacuate, and quickly. They got hit hard when the Puyallup crested after a Pineapple Express storm in December, 2007, so more people were motivated to leave this time. Pierce County

Slide on Hwy. 20, the North Cascades Highway. Whatcom County
Downtown Snoqualmie. King County

Tolt River over the road in Carnation. King County

Wallace River in Gold Bar. Snohomish County

Stanwood. Snohomish County

This slide happened near the ski slopes at Hyak, up on Snoqualmie Pass. It stopped short of I-90 but the highway was closed anyway. Kittitas County

And finally, I couldn't get home my normal route, Highway 410 in Sumner, because of water over the road. This particular stretch always floods a bit and has very bad drainage. I had to go up to Auburn and hope that the rivers in that area (Stuck & White) hadn't flooded the roads. Fortunately they weren't that high yet and I was able to get across and then up the hill to Bonney Lake, the back way.

I do love the rain, but I think this is the first time in my life that I've hoped it stays dry for awhile.
Photos courtesy of and


  1. i like your blog......

  2. crazy pics! brings back memories of our big flood here. i hate floods and with so many rivers, it's so much worse there. i hope you guys get clear weather for a while to come. just send it our way! :)

  3. Those photos are VERY frightening Jojo.They remind me of photos after hurricanes here.I hope for everyone's sake that things dry out soon.

  4. Its a shame all that beautiful snow has to melt and cause so much heartache and damage. You take care of yourself. Go and find your Sunday snow person and Koi.

  5. Lordie, lordie!

    All these freak weather conditions are NOT caused by climate change, folks (George W. said so, therefore it must be so) so no need to turn off the AC or get rid of the gas guzzlers, in fact, given the recession, all the more reason to give financial support to their manufacturers, without insisting on increased greener technology.

    I wish I was 10 years nearer to death, I dread what's coming.

  6. Anonymous12:47 PM

    What a mess, yet I saw some golf from Hawaii yesterday and it was sunny and lovely there! Mean of them to only send you their 'Liquid Sunshine' as they called it when I was there.

    The only time my village came close to flooding (in the last few years anyway) was when they opened the flood gates somewhere nowhere near us and filled the River Trent, which was already full to the brim. Naturally, no one mentioned they were doing this....

  7. The weather has just been relentless out there. My brother said it was raining in Seattle, I told him I was worried about flooding he said....Don't worry I live on a hill. OK!

  8. Sarah - What a treat to see you over here! :) The waters are receding but the mess left behind is awful.

    Bryde - The treasure hunter in me wants to take my metal detector to the river bank, but on the other hand, I'd feel too guilty finding something that clearly was washed away in the flood.

    BASRIC - Have your daughter to a friend request to me on FB so we can hunt eggs. lol

    Val - Oh no, there's no global warming. Not at all. It's damn sad that we're the last generation to remember the way it used to be.

    Diane - So they didn't notify your town either? Shocking.

    Tess - Being on a hill is safer, as long as you aren't at risk for a mudslide!!

  9. I was down on the White River today, and it's still surging with run off from Mud Mountain Dam. I've been walking down there for years, and this is the highest I've ever seen it--even though we haven't had all that much rain for the past couple of days. Scary days indeed.

  10. Anonymous1:05 PM

    Wow! That's incredible. Flooding is a very frightening thing indeed. I once had the Royal River pour into my car once after getting stuck in a wash out and getting out of my car, not realizing the water was that deep. Even a small river that is in flood stage can be dangerous. We have had lots of flooding since last fall involving the Royal River and the amount of debris is incredible.
    Stay safe my friend!

  11. My daughter can't find you on Facebook to friend. Are you using a different name than Tahoma Beadworks.
    You can friend her at Lauren Short.
    Hers is the one with her hand in the big truth face in Italy.

  12. oh my goodness are you guys okay?

  13. omg, that's so scary! I can't even imagine.

    And you know goooood girl is a spammer right? LOL And I think she's a he. But...whatever.

  14. Intense photos but ohhh so frightening too. :(

    I've only had to drive thru water once, and it was terrifying.

  15. What a nightmare! I'm so glad you are okay! I'll take the freezing temps over that, any day of the week.