Heavy wind and rains accompanying a storm in Western Washington are increasing the risk of landslides on already saturated soil, according to the National Weather Service.
A mudslide closed Orville Road near Eatonville, between the Ohop Lake boat ramp and mile post 2. Crews didn’t know when they’d get the road cleared.
And the state Department of Transportation reported winter weather road trouble throughout the state, including a slide on state Route 20 east of Concrete.
In addition, a winter advisory will be in effect for the Cascades from Friday (Jan. 29) to Saturday night, with more than a foot of snow expected in that time period.
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“Travel through the Cascades will be difficult,” the Weather Service warned.
Snow levels dropped to 4,000 feet on Thursday.
Forecasters said 1 to 2 inches of rain fell in the lowlands Thursday, and the mountains received 2 to 4 inches. At Sea-Tac Airport, 0.61 inches of rain fell in the last 24 hours ending at 5 p.m.
Winds gusted between about 20 and 30 miles per hour in Tacoma in the morning and early afternoon before dropping off.
“Because of the long-term saturation of the soil and the intensity of the rain, the current storm is capable of triggering isolated landslides in landslide prone areas,” the Weather Service said in a special weather statement issued Thursday.
Steep hillsides and coastal bluffs were the most likely areas to see landslides.
Rain from the last few months — December was the second-wettest on record with 11.21 inches — has already saturated the soil, making it unstable, the Weather Service said.
Heavy rains from the storm moving through could loosen soil and debris.
As for temperatures, highs will be near 53 degrees and dropping to the mid-40s through next week.
Staff writer Alexis Krell contributed to this report.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653