Expect wild weather through Thanksgiving weekend
By GREG ALLMAIN
Federal Way Mirror reporter
November 20, 2012 · Updated 3:53 PM
As one of the busiest travel seasons ramps up for Thanksgiving weekend, Western Washington and the state's mountain passes are getting hammered with rain and snow.
As of Monday morning, flood watches had been issued for most of Western Washington by the National Weather Service (NWS), with the NWS warning of mudslides and flooding as a major hazard for the region.
The alert from the NWS indicates that "rainfall up to 1.5 inches, with localized amounts near 3 inches…has increased the soil moisture to moderate levels across Western Washington." The NWS warns that an additional 2 inches of rain is expected by the end of Monday, which "will put extra pressure on soil instability, leading to a risk of scattered landslides."
For Federal Way, the city's Surface Water Management Division has a pre-made list of "hot spots" to watch when the rain comes hard and heavy like it did Monday.
According to city spokesman Chris Carrel, anyone who experiences issues with rainwater on roadways or other issues in residential areas should call the Public Works Department at (253) 835-2700 during regular business hours. After hours, calls should be placed to (800) 400-0749.
King 5 meteorologist Jim Guy wrote on his blog on Monday morning that “a couple of weaker fronts will sweep through the state for showers at times this week,” and that “travelers should expect mainly rain in the lower passes (Monday) afternoon, but snow levels will likely fall to near 3,000 feet by Wednesday and down to 2,000 feet Wednesday night.” Those lower snow levels mean that passes like Stevens and White will see snow on those days.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) forecast for the Snoqualmie pass is similar, with the state transit authority forecasting snow on the pass throughout the week, and that the snow levels for Snoqualmie may drop to approximately 2,000 feet by Wednesday night. Real-time updates are always available at www.wsdot.com.
In anticipation of the holiday travel bump, the Port of Seattle lists a number of useful reminders for the half-million travelers expected to go through Sea-Tac airport during the holiday season. Among the Port’s recommendations are:
• Plan in advance: the Port recommends travelers confirm travel details and make sure the names on their boarding pass and ID match.
• Be conscious of security: Also recommended by the Port is to be aware of what the TSA does and does not allow in carry-on bags. That information can be found on the TSA website.
• Get boarding passes early: The Port recommends travelers print their boarding pass out from a computer, or use check-in kiosks at the airport. The port notes passengers with only carry-on baggage can go directly to the security checkpoint. Passengers with luggage can go to airline bag-check points.
• Check status of flights online or via email notification: The Port offers a flight status page and also offers email alerts for flight statuses.
• Arrive at least two hours before a flight: This is to ensure that travelers have plenty of time to get through security checkpoints, etc.
• Park in the airport garage: The Port recommends this because of the garages close proximity to the main terminal of the airport.
Contact Federal Way Mirror reporter Greg Allmain at firstname.lastname@example.org or 253-925-5565 ext. 5054.