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Seattle records wettest December 20 since 1900 as atmospheric river brings floods and landslides, U.S.

seattle-records-wettest-december-20-since-1900-as-atmospheric-river-brings-floods-and-landslides-us

Seattle residents woke up to their wettest December 20 in over 100 years on Friday, December 20, 2019, as an atmospheric river soaked the city with heavy rain, leading to floods, landslides, and traffic disruptions. Over 78 mm (3 inches) of rain was recorded, breaking the previous one in 1900 which was 51 mm (2 inches), according to the National Weather Service (NSW)

The downpours resulted in a traffic mess, as transportation crews worked to clear objects and water from roadways. Lanes of Interstate 90 were closed at some points on Friday as crews had to deal with flood and a fallen tree.

Buses had to reroute, while some Sound Transit trains were delayed up to an hour.

Passenger trains between Seattle and Portland were canceled through Sunday morning, December 22, because of a landslide over railroad tracks in Tacoma.

In Bellevue, one driver had to swim out of a nearly inundated car.

Authorities warned drivers to slow down and avoid driving into floodwaters as it could be deeper than it looks.

In some parts of King County, drivers who ignored street closures ended up trapped. In others, drivers who couldn’t see the road ended up in ditches and creeks that firefighters had to rescue them.

Flood watches and warnings were issued throughout the region. Phase 3 flood alerts were issued for the Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers in King County, with moderate flooding likely along the rivers.

Power outages were also reported as more than 2 000 Puget Sound Energy customers lost electricity on Friday morning.

Forecasts said although the downpour will ease by Saturday, December 21, rain is possible through the weekend, December 22.

Featured image credit: @wspd2pio/Twitter

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