Extreme flooding pretty much cut off Seattle from the rest of the country last Friday.
“Climate change is here. When you hear about these kinds of record heat events, record rain events and flooding events — that’s climate change playing out right now and in real time,” said Dr. Meade Krosby, a senior scientist with the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group, on CBS News Radio.
Record-shattering rain drenches Western Washington to close out week
With the main highway flooded last week and four major mountain passes closed, Seattle and a good portion of Western Washington were completely isolated from the rest of the country by road.
“We received a pretty shocking amount of rain in a very small amount of time across the state, particularly in Western Washington,” Krosby said. “Our soils are already really saturated, our rivers are already really high, and so getting this huge amount of precipitation in a really small amount of time led to significant flooding throughout the state.”
“When these things happen, it is so surprising because it is outside the scope of our experience,” Krosby added. “We have to sort of imagine the unimaginable. And as much as we’re surprised, like ‘Oh, I can’t believe that a major city can be cut off from the rest of the country by flooding’ — these are the kinds of things that we’re already experiencing with 1.2 degrees of warming.”
Evacuations and damage assessment continues Monday for a number of residents in the area. The search for a missing Malone man was suspended Sunday night, reports KIRO 7 TV, hours after he was apparently swept away by floodwaters. The search will continue Monday morning.
A 72-year-old Cosmopolis man was also killed in the floods Friday.
The advice for those driving in or near flood waters is to “turn around, don’t drown.”
House in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood slides off foundations in wake of heavy rain
KIRO 7 TV Meteorologist Nick Allard says there is more rain ahead this week, which means there is potential for more flooding.
“At this point — I picked a couple area rivers just to take a look. The Skokomish, you’re going to go back into moderate flood stage at least,” Allard said.
For the Chehalis, Puyallup, Stillaguamish rivers and a few others, Allard says it doesn’t look like they will get back to flood stage.
“But we will for sure have some area flood watches, feeding off the Cascades and the Olympics,” he added, so that flood risk could change.
The KIRO Radio Newsdesk and KIRO 7 TV News Staff contributed to this report.