Monday, November 19, 2012

Flood, high wind and storm warnings in WA

The National Weather Service has issued a long list of flood-, wind- and storm warnings, watches and advisories today. Here's a roundup:

A flood warning has been issued for the Chehalis River at Centralia (in Lewis County) and the Chehalis River near Grand Mound (in Thurston County). Moderate flooding is expected, and the weather service is warning motorists not to try driving through flooded areas -- the most common cause of flood-related deaths in Washington.

In Lewis County, the flood warning will be in effect from Tuesday morning to Wednesday evening, with the river expected to hit flood stage around 9 a.m. Tuesday and crest 4 feet over flood stage around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

What's that mean? At four feet over flood stage, the weather service says, "The Chehalis River in Lewis County will flood some residential and commercial areas with water encroaching upon the first floor of some homes and businesses. Swift flood waters will cover some roads.

At Grand Mound, the river's expected to hit flood stage around 7 a.m. Tuesday and crest about 2 1/2 feet over flood stage around 4 a.m. Wednesday. Flooding of several roads in Independence Valley is expected, including SR 12 and James-, Independence-, Moon- and Anderson roads. Flood waters are expected to cut off access to and from Chehalis Reservation and inundate nearby farmland.

Minor to moderate flooding is also predicted the the Chehalis River near Doty (Lewis County), the Newaukum near Chehalis (Lewis), the Satsop River near Satsop (Grays Harbor County) and the Skokomish River near Potlatch (Mason). There's a flood advisory -- meaning minor flooding is possible -- for a dozen western Washington counties, as well as western Kittitas, Klickitat and Yakima counties.

A high wind warning is in effect for Seattle and the central coast areas, with the strongest winds occurring as we post this, with the warning lasting until 3 p.m. South winds of 25-35 miles an hour have been reported, with gusts near 60 miles an hour.

A winter storm warning has been issued for the Cascade mountains above 4,500 feet, with periods of heavy snow expected to persist through evening. An additional 1-2 feet of snow is likely, especially over the North Cascades, the weather service says.

Similarly, a winter weather advisory is in effect for the Olympic mountains above 5,000 feet, with 6-11 inches of snow expected, but tapering off late today.

Fraud charges for man who hit car, then bought insurance

A Blaine man who rear-ended another driver, rushed to buy insurance, then claimed that the crash happened afterward has been charged with insurance fraud.

Mark Traxler, 51, let his auto insurance lapse in January because he didn't pay the premium.

Two weeks after his coverage ended, he hit a car in Bellingham, causing more than $5,000 in damage.

He immediately went to his insurance agent and paid for new coverage. By nightfall, the other driver had made a claim against his policy.

The problem: Traxler said that the accident happened after he'd bought the coverage, when a 9-1-1 call placed by the other driver indicated that it happened before.

Traxler has been charged in Whatcom County Superior Court with insurance fraud.