The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch and wind advisory for much of Western Washington as rainy weather is expected to continue through Friday.
Also in effect were a coastal flood advisory and a special weather statement warning of landslides throughout the region.
The flood watch, in effect through Friday evening, was issued because 3 to 5 inches of rain were forecast for the Olympics and Cascades up to 6,500 feet, also melting recent snow left throughout the region.
“This could be enough rain to drive some rivers above minor flood stage later today or tonight,” the Weather Service wrote in a Thursday afternoon advisory.
People living in flood-prone areas were advised to monitor weather forecasts and prepare to take action if flooding occurs. The Chehalis and White rivers are the local rivers most likely to be affected.
Because of the flood watch, the city of Tacoma was providing free sandbag supplies Friday at two locations:
▪ The Tacoma Asphalt Plant, 3210 Center St., open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.
▪ The Central Wastewater Treatment Plant, 2301 Cleveland Way, open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.
The wind advisory will take effect 8 a.m. Friday and last until 3 p.m., as southwesterly winds from 20 to 35 miles per hour were expected throughout the Puget Sound basin, with gusts up to 50 mph.
The high winds likely will lead to downed limbs and local power outages, the advisory states.
“Winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles,” the Weather Service advisory says. “Use extra caution.”
The coastal flood advisory warns that within an hour of high tide Friday — between 5 and 6 a.m. — high astronomical tides and low pressure could combine to create minor coastal flooding along Puget Sound.
The special weather statement about landslides stated that heavy rainfall seen throughout the region Thursday, combined with recent snow melt, has increased soil moisture enough to put pressure on unstable soil, causing landslides.
Small landslides closed Pioneer Way East in Puyallup and the Vashon Highway near the south ferry terminal.
In the Cascades, the three major passes continue to be closed due to avalanche danger.
Snoqualmie Pass will be closed overnight. as state Department of Transportation crews assess its safety. Stevens and White passes will also remain closed overnight, with conditions re-evaluated in the morning.
“Our avalanche control crews have been working basically all day and managed to stabilize all of the avalanche chutes in the area,” Transportation Department spokeswoman Ally Barrera said.
The crews’ biggest problem is the westbound lanes, which were more exposed and required more cleanup, she said. Warmer weather hampered that process, delaying the opening.
Interstate 90 will reopen through the area if crews can get the lanes clear of slides, Barrera said.
The Northwest Avalanche Center on Thursday upgraded the risk of avalanches in the Cascades to “extreme,” a rare warning. Forecasters say heavy rains are increasing the risk of slides in areas like Paradise, Crystal Mountain and Mount Baker.
“These are dangerous conditions and all avalanche terrain should be avoided in this area,” according to the center.
Mount Rainier National Park did not open the gate to Paradise on Thursday because of the weather.
The Hood Canal bridge was closed for nearly seven hours Thursday afternoon and evening to avoid wave damage, according to Transportation Department.
Staff writer Stacia Glenn contributed to this report.