We had tons of rain yesterday and wind storms and power outages on the Olympic Peninsula. I lost power for only four hours because I happen to be on the hospital grid. It gets early attention.
Currently 4000+ people are cut off on the Olympic Peninsula, between milepost 220 and 185 of Highway 101. There is a slide at 185. The water is over the road along Crescent Lake, milepost 220 to 231 and the Elwha River is over the road at the bridge at milepost 239.5.
A friend is at his cabin between 220 and 185, on the Sol Duc River. He really wanted to see a huge dead tree get swept away by the river. He thinks he heard it yesterday in the early morning. A loud crack. The rain was so heavy that it woke him up after midnight. Pounding rain.
Both the Elwha and the Sol Duc were rising. By yesterday morning it had come up over ten feet. The huge dead tree was gone, the island that it was on was under water, the water was up the banks.
I thought if it were me, I would get out of there. Especially when I read this:
...FLOOD WARNING NOW IN EFFECT FROM EARLY THIS MORNING THROUGH LATE TONIGHT...
WHAT...Moderate flooding is forecast.
WHERE...Elwha River At McDonald Bridge.
WHEN...Until late tonight.
IMPACTS...At 21.5 feet, the Elwha River will flood roads...much of the pasture land along the river...and several residential areas. Erosion may damage river banks.
ADDITIONAL DETAILS... - At 3:15 AM PST Monday the stage was 18.5 feet. - Forecast...The river is expected to rise above flood stage this morning to a crest of 22.7 feet midday. It will then fall below flood stage this evening. - Flood stage is 20.0 feet. - Flood History...This crest compares to a previous crest of 24.2 feet on 11/26/1949."
So the flood height was going to be the highest since 1949 and block the bridge over the Elwha. My friend said he could go around. The Olympic Peninsula in Washington is a mass of rivers and there are not many roads. Two between him and his home. The rest is Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest. Yes, there are some forest service roads but not across the park and they are on the other side of the river. Highway 101 crosses the Sol Duc four times on the way to his cabin.
He said, "The river is now full of debris and logs, 50, 75, even 100 feet long, going by at 20-25 miles an hour. I have never seen anything like this." He saw a picnic table go by and a sleeping bag. No bodies. Huge logs. He has a movie. I watched via phone, and even fuzzy it was very impressive.
It rose at least 14 feet, by his estimate.
"How much room have you got?"
"It would have to come up another ten feet. I'm good."
I checked in in the evening. It had not risen much further. Maybe another 2 feet. The rain had lightened but was still going. It was also warm, so recent snow was melting.
This morning, from the WA Department of Transportation https://wsdot.com/travel/real-time/alerts/road/101:
US 101 milepost 220 to 231
Closure on US 101 both directions from milepost 220 near Sol Duc Hot Springs Rd to milepost 231 beginning at 8:37 am on November 15, 2021 until further notice. The highway is closed to traffic in both directions for water over the road.
Last updated: 11/15/2021 7:07 PM
US 101 milepost 239.5
Closure on US 101, in both directions at milepost 239.5 near Elwha River. Beginning at 1:23 pm on November 15, 2021 until further notice. The roadway is closed in both direction at the Elwha River Bridge.
Last updated: 11/15/2021 2:02 PM
US 101 milepost 185.06
Slide on US 101 both directions at milepost 185.06 near Kallman Rd beginning at 3:39 pm on November 15, 2021 until further notice. The roadway is closed.
Last updated: 11/16/2021 9:51 AM
"The area we’re having the most issues with is the Olympic Peninsula, where we have eight different closures due to flooding and slides including the US 101 Elwha River Bridge. There is no detour for this closure because there are also closures on SR 112 and SR 113. Our crews are evaluating multiple areas and we will reopen once it’s safe, but we have no estimate. They need to inspect the various hillsides to make sure they are stable and then can move in and clear the debris.
In all, there are three closures on US 101 and three on SR 112, along with the closure on SR 113 and a closure on SR 110. Flood waters continue to rise and slides are moving so we can’t say when any of the closures will reopen. Again, please DO NOT go around road closed signs. They are there for everyone’s safety and they wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t important. We will update this post when we get more information."
So he is stuck. However, warm, dry, has water, has food, has electricity and broadband. Things could be a lot worse. The bridge has to be cleared by the engineers after the water comes down, and the slides have to be cleared.
Worse in other areas: https://www.mysanantonio.com/news/article/Atmospheric-river-whips-Northwest-1-missing-16623989.php#photo-21722150