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.
Rainiest December 20 for the Seattle Area.— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) December 20, 2019
Previous record for today was 1.93" at SeaTac in 1955 and 2.00" in downtown Seattle in 1900.
Either way you look at it - as we've already climbed past 2" of rainfall today, today is now the wettest Dec. 20 on record.#wawx
Pineapple Express.— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) December 20, 2019
That's the tweet. pic.twitter.com/IM6q9tK72S
LANDSLIDE DANGER— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) December 20, 2019
Numerous landslides have already been reported and the danger continues to increase across the area.
Landslides & debris flows can move rapidly, striking with little to no warning at avalanche speeds (faster than a person can run).#wawx pic.twitter.com/CxxdVino55
RINSE & REPEAT - You can probably save this video for the next few days #Seattle, you won't notice much of a difference weather wise. More soggy showers are set to douse the Pacific northwest. Bring that rain jacket pic.twitter.com/9R7OamMAJL— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) December 20, 2019
I honestly didn’t think the little white car was going to make it!— Franque Thompson (@FranqueThompson) December 20, 2019
Flooding in Kent on 76th Ave S. There are road closed signs out here, but dozens of drivers are ignoring them. The city is encouraging people to follow the signs & use an alternate route. pic.twitter.com/wWUXHVWq0b
Dispatched to car into the water in downtown Kent. Driver is out and ok. Avoid standing water. Obey road closed signs, they are there for your safety. Shout out to our friends in Public Works who are working hard to manage the weather impacts. pic.twitter.com/I7uYymmBC7— Puget Sound Fire (@PugetSoundFire) December 20, 2019
There are multiple mudslides blocking Woodmont beach Drive in Des Moines. This will take a while to clean up. no ETA for reopening pic.twitter.com/RDtKfA0rNa— South King Fire (@Southkingfire) December 20, 2019
This is the scene on SR 203 near the Stillwater Store, MP 8. A landslide brought trees down which pulled the power lines down. A two car non-injury collision occurred due to the slide. A detour is in place. No ETA for clearing. pic.twitter.com/L8GJYX1Yst— Trooper Rick Johnson (@wspd2pio) December 20, 2019
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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