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West Valley Highway to stay closed as storms bring more rain

Post by Mike Archbold on Jan. 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm with No Comments »
January 14, 2011 2:59 pm
A worker removes a four foot deep river of mud that swept across the West Valley Hwy. near 38th St. E. in Sumner Friday January 14th 2011. Multiple slides in the area and the threat of heavy rains over the weekend have forced the closure of the road. Dean J. Koepfler / Staff photographer

West Valley Highway south of 24th Street in Sumner will remain closed today and probably into next week due to a mudslide blocking the road and the forecast for more  rain.

City of Sumner spokeswoman Carmen Palmer said today that the blockage from a slide Thursday was twice as high as the side the day before.

A crew hired by the property owner whose slope slid away was clearing the road this morning, she said, adding that opening the  road is problematic with the ongoing rain.

The National Weather Service is forecasting periods of locally heavy rain with mild temperatures  to continue through Sunday and raise the level of rivers in the area. By late Sunday another one to four inches of rain should fall across the lowlands of Western Washington.

The storms coming into the area are originating in the Central Pacific. They  are fast-moving but carry a lot of moisture. Since there are breaks between the storms, forecasters expect any flooding to be minor.

A flood watch continues for rivers in 11 counties, including Pierce, Thurston and King. A flood watch means conditions are favorable for flooding but it is not imminent or occurring.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does not expect the amount of rain expected in the next few days in  the basins of the Green and White rivers to be a problem for its flood control dams.

The forecast flows on the Green River do not present flooding concerns for areas downstream, including Auburn, Kent, Tukwila or Renton.

Freezing levels will rise to 8,000 feet today and to around 9,000 feet by Sunday.

More mudslides, however, could be expected.

A mudslide this morning blocked both directions of U.S. Highway 101 at milepost 333 near Hoodsport in Mason County. State transportation crews were dispatched to clean it up.

The National Weather Service
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