PORTLAND, Ore. — The U.S. Coast Guard rescued five people from flooded areas Tuesday as a storm surge brought heavy rains, flooding and unseasonably warm weather to the Pacific Northwest.
The conditions closed train lines, schools and roads in some areas and shattered daily rainfall and temperature records in Washington state.
In southwest Washington, a Coast Guard helicopter plucked a man from the roof of his truck in flooding near the hamlet of Roseburg and rescued four people trapped in a house surrounded by 4 feet (1.2 meters) of water, the Coast Guard reported. said.
Amtrak said no passenger trains would run between Seattle and Portland, Oregon, until Thursday because of the landslide. The National Weather Service issued flood warnings for parts of Western Washington, including parts north and east of Seattle and a large part of the Olympic Peninsula.
Wet conditions also brought warmer temperatures to the region. A high of 64 degrees Fahrenheit (17.8 Celsius) was recorded in Walla Walla, southwest Washington, as hot as parts of Florida and Mexico, according to the NWS. Seattle recorded a high of 59 F (15 C) at 1 a.m. Tuesday, breaking its previous daily high, the weather service said.
Atmospheric rivers, sometimes called the “Pineapple Express” because long and narrow bands of steam transport warm subtropical moisture from near Hawaii across the Pacific, delivered enormous amounts of rain and snow to California last winter.
On the Olympic Peninsula, the small town of Forks — which has consistently held the reputation of being the rainiest city in the United States — saw its rainfall record double after receiving 3.8 inches (9.65 centimeters) of rain on Dec. 4. NWS said. By early Tuesday morning, 4.7 inches (11.94 centimeters) of rain had been recorded in 24 hours — more than Las Vegas will receive in 2023, the agency said.
About 100 miles (160 kilometers) to the south, Hoquiam, which received 2.6 inches (6.6 centimeters) of rain on Monday, set a daily rainfall record for Dec. 4, the NWS said. Seattle also set a new rainfall record with 1.5 inches (3.81 centimeters), said Kirby Cook, science and operations officer for the NWS office in Seattle.
“We will continue to see significant impacts, particularly with the rise in river crests and area rivers,” he said.
State transportation officials said a portion of Washington State Route 106 was closed due to rising water levels in the Skokomish River and overflowing the roadway.
In Granite Falls, Washington, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Seattle, video posted on social media by Kira Mascorella showed water surrounding homes and flooding driveways and yards. Mascorella, who lives in nearby Arlington, said it was “raining” when he woke up Tuesday and was still raining heavily by late afternoon. He said he was off work because of water on the sides of the road and wasn’t sure if they would be able to go on Wednesday.
In Monroe, Washington, fire and rescue crews said four people and a dog were brought to safety after they were trapped in a park by a waterfall.
The city’s parks department said parts of a Seattle trail popular with walkers, joggers and cyclists were closed by landslides. Crews were assessing the damage to the Burke-Gilman Trail and working to set up detours.
Heavy rains also hit Oregon. Portions of coastal US Highway 101 were closed due to flooding, including coastal areas and intersections with US Route 26 and Oregon Route 6, the state Department of Transportation said.
At least three school districts along the Oregon Coast were closed for the day due to flooding and road closures.
Officials urged drivers to use caution, avoid deep water on roads and expect delays.