Heavy rains that caused street flooding and pushed several area rivers to flood stage Tuesday will continue into Wednesday evening before letting up, forecasters said.
"If you look at a satellite picture you can see an entrenched band of moisture that stretches for hundreds of miles" along Western Washington and Oregon. "The rain is going to keep falling," Rodger Nelson, a meteorologist for the Weather Service, said Tuesday evening.
Heavy rains will morph into showers late Wednesday night, but the entire Thanksgiving Day period will be soggy, and rain sometimes will be hard during that period, according to forecasters.
Even though the worst of the two-day rainstorm struck north of Cowlitz County, Longview was pelted by its rainiest day of the season.
Nearly 2 inches fell at the city's water treatment plant on Fisher's Lane in the 24-hour period ending at 4 p.m. Tuesday. That was in addition to a quarter inch that fell the day before.
City streets throughout the Kelso and Longview area were flooded, as autumn leaves often plugged catch basin grates. Kelso officials asked the public for help keeping the grates clean because city crews could not keep up.
No Cowlitz County roads were closed as a result of the high water, though water flowed over several roadways in the usual trouble spots, such as Westover Drive at the base of Nevada Drive.
At 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, the Weather Service was canceled an advisory for urban flooding it had issued earlier in the day for much of the Lower Columbia area.
Rains were far heavier to the west of the Longview-Kelso. Three to five inches of rain had fallen over the Willapa Hills since Monday afternoon, according to Pacific County emergency officials. An additional two to three inches of rain was expected Tuesday.
The Weather Service on Tuesday morning issued a flood watch for the Naselle, Grays River and Willapa rivers that will remain in effect until Wednesday. However, the Grays crested just short of flood stage Tuesday afternoon, and the Naselle was six feet short of flood stage as night fell Tuesday.
No flooding problems were reported in the Grays River area, according to the Wahkiakum County Sheriff's office.
The Cowlitz River is expected to continue rising Wednesday before peaking short of flood stage in both Kelso and Castle Rock. The Toutle and Lewis rivers were forecast to remain well below flood stage,.
Flood stage is when a river is full to its natural banks but well short of threatening communities guarded by dikes.
Despite gusty winds overnight Monday, the Cowlitz PUD only reported one significant wind-related power outage — 130 customers were blacked out in the South Kelso industrial area from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Monday. The same area lost power again early Tuesday morning, said PUD spokesman Dave Andrew.