An atmospheric river event has already produced flooding rain in both Oregon and Washington, with more precipitation expected to fall on Wednesday.

SEATTLE – Rivers in Western are overflowing their banks and flooding neighborhoods as an event known as a drenched the Pacific for a second day.

Several counties across the region are under a and some rivers near populated areas in the foothills of Western Washington are forecast to be near or reach major flood stage by Wednesday.

At least two deaths were attributed to the atmospheric river in Oregon and both fatalities involved swollen creeks.

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    Flooding leads to water rescue in Snohomish County, Washington. (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)

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    Flooding leads to water rescue in Snohomish County, Washington. (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)

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    Flooding in Washington’s Grays River Valley on Dec. 5, 2023. (Washington State Dept. of Transportation)

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    Flooding in Washington’s Grays River Valley on Dec. 5, 2023. (Washington State Dept. of Transportation)

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    The Skokomish River floods in Washington’s Mason County on Dec. 5, 2023. (Washington State Dept. of Transportation)

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    A home is flooded from the swollen Stillaguamish River in Granite Falls, Washington on Dec. 5, 2023. (Benjamin Jurkovich / Washington Weather Chasers)

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    A home is flooded from the swollen Stillaguamish River in Granite Falls, Washington on Dec. 5, 2023. (Benjamin Jurkovich / Washington Weather Chasers)

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    A mudslide blocks Seattle’s Burke-Gilman Trail on Dec. 5, 2023 (Seattle Parks Department)

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    A mudslide blocks Seattle’s Burke-Gilman Trail on Dec. 5, 2023 (Seattle Parks Department)

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    The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office shared this photo of a car that was stranded in high water on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. The driver was safely rescued. (@SnoCoSheriff/X)

Already, as much as 4-8 inches of precipitation have fallen in the mountains, and more is on the way before the event begins to wind down.

Amtrak suspended service between Seattle and Portland, Oregon, due to the extreme weather and a landslide.

Service is expected to be suspended until at least Thursday morning.

Rescues of stranded motorists near Oregon-Washington state line

Vehicles became submerged in floodwater near the Oregon-Washington state line on Tuesday. The Coast Guard reported at least five people were rescued

The Coast Guard reports rescuing at least five people from floodwaters on Tuesday near Rosburg, Washington.

A helicopter crew rescued four people who were in a home surrounded by several feet of water and an individual who was trapped in a vehicle.

All the flood victims were said to be in stable condition.

Flooding enters homes in Granite Falls, Washington

Video recorded in Granite Falls, Washington, shows the Stillaguamish River overflowing its banks and starting to flood roads and homes in the area.

, Washington, show water rushing across roads and vehicles trying to navigate through the flooding as the river nears a record-high crest.

They also show water entering homes due to the rapidly rising rivers in the foothills of the Cascades.

According to the , the county’s Flood Warning Center was opened to monitor conditions and and has warned that road closures are possible after the Snoqualmie River rose to a Phase 3 flood level.

Video recorded in Granite Falls, Washington, shows floodwaters covering roads and flowing from homes after the Stillaguamish River overflowed its banks on Tuesday.

According to the blog, the river’s three forks was recorded flowing at 20,670 cubic feet per second (CFS) which surpassed the Phase 3 flood alert threshold of 20,000 CFS.

“At these flows, we could expect to see flooding across the entire Snoqualmie Valley,” the blog said. “Roads that could overtop include the Fall City – Carnation Road, portions of West Snoqualmie River Road, Northeast Tolt Hill Road, Novelty Flats Road and others.”

The heavy rain on Tuesday morning led to standing water on several -area highways and roads, including Interstate 5. 

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office shared a photo of a car that had become stranded in high water in Granite Falls, where nearly 6 inches of rain had fallen. The driver of the vehicle was safely rescued.

Washington State Patrol said on X that troopers had responded to more than a dozen crashes since midnight in Snohomish County, with multiple areas with standing water.

What is a Pineapple Express?

A ‘Pineapple Express’ is a specific atmospheric river setup where the jet stream dips south into the tropical Pacific near Hawaii before carrying warm, moist air north and east across the ocean.

A Pineapple Express is when the jet stream dips to the south into the tropical Pacific near , gathers warm, moist air and carries it across the ocean where it dumps heavy rain in either the Pacific Northwest or .

And the air in Washington is indeed warm. recorded a temperature of 59 degrees early Tuesday morning, which already broke its old record of 58 degrees. , Washington, hit 63 degrees on Tuesday morning which is now its second-warmest December temperature on record. Snow levels are near 10,000 feet.

The FOX Forecast Center says that the combination of record-warm temperatures and several inches of rain falling on top of the 2-4 feet of melting snow on the ground in the Cascades and Olympics from winter storms over the weekend is resulting in extensive runoff. 

Numerous rivers, creeks and streams are expected to reach flood stage – with major flooding possible in some spots.

Western Washington rivers rapidly rising

An animated image showing the Skagit River hydrograph at Mt. Vernon, Washington, the Snoqualmie River hydrograph at Carnation, Washington and the Stillaguamish River at Arlington, Washington.

(FOX Weather)

Flood Warnings cover several rivers across the Northwest. Moderate to major flooding is expected along the Skagit, Snohomish, Snoqualmie and Skokomish rivers in Western Washington, and communities along those rivers were told to for flooded roads and water creeping into homes and other buildings.

is expected to crest at 35.47 feet on Thursday, which is well above major flood stage at 32 feet. The is expected to crest at 58.55 feet on Wednesday, which is just above major flood stage at 55 feet.

Major flooding is occurring along the , reaching 20.90 feet. That’s also well above major flood stage at 19 feet, and just below its record crest at 21.2 feet.

Flood Watches remain in effect for much of the Northwest

Flood Alerts in effect through Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023.
(FOX Weather)

 

several inches of rain have already fallen in the region and up to 5 inches of additional rain is possible over the Olympics, 2-4 inches over the Cascades, 1-2 along the coast and 1-2 over the interior lowlands by late Tuesday.

This will be on top of the already impressive rainfall totals reported in the region over the past 24 hours.

The Flood Watches have covered much of western Washington and Oregon for days, but have expanded to the south to include portions of Northern California, including , through Thursday.

Flood Watches include the cities of , Seattle and in Washington. In Oregon, the cities of , , and are included in the Flood Watch. 

Top rain reports in Washington as of Dec. 5, 2023.
(FOX Weather)

 

The NWS says Olympic recorded 8.67 inches of rain. and Granite Falls, which are both near the foothills of the Cascades, picked up several inches of rain. Duvall recorded 7.12 inches while Granite Falls reported 5.87 inches. Skykomish, in the heart of the Cascades along Stevens Pass, was just over 7 inches and counting.

The bulk of the heavy precipitation is expected to wind down as we head into Wednesday. 

However, the flood risk will continue throughout the day as copious amounts of water continue to flow downstream. More rain is in the forecast later in the week but snow levels will return to more typical December levels, mitigating any future flood threat.