The rain and wind is dying down a bit after a series of storms over the weekend, setting records for September rainfall and wind speed all over the Northwest. The main impact from over the weekend is the closure of West Side Highway between Beacon Hill Road and Solomon Road, a closure that will remain in place until further notice. The highway was closed Saturday night, when water rushing from a damaged culvert had severely eroded the soil supporting the highway. The culvert had been targeted for repair this weekend, but the severe storms had prevented that work. Washington Department of Transportation engineers plan to assess the damage and will set a timeline for temporary repairs early this week. You’re advised to use I-5 as an alternate route. Several Kelso School bus routes are being adjusted as a result of the closure. Bus routes 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 will pick children up at their regular stops and regular times, but because of the re-routing, they will arrive at school late. This afternoon, expect those same kids to be home late, but they will be delivered to their regular stops.
The Cowlitz PUD continues to work on power outages that were caused by the wind and rains. As of about 9 pm last night, a total of 3,140 PUD customers had lost power, and crews worked through the night to get power restored. As of 7 am, most of the major outages had been dealt with, including a difficult situation out in the Ryderwood area. Repairs on that “cross-country line” had to be delayed, because it was too dangerous to deal with. Other areas that had been affected included downtown Castle Rock, Pleasant Hill Road, Holcomb Acres, Ostrander, Silver Lake Acres, South Kelso, Sightly Road and Ryderwood. There was another round of problems in the Silver Lake area early this morning, after additional tree falls were reported. The latest problem was up on Beebe Road, affecting 250 customers going up to the Cowlitz-Lewis County line; crews are working to complete those repairs at this time.
The latest 48-hour rainfall total in Kelso is reported at 2.79 inches, with a peak wind gust of 41 miles an hour. Castle Rock had 3.62 inches of rain over the past 48 hours; a peak gust of 35 miles an hour was reported in Lexington at about 6:45 last night. Astoria had more than 3.5 inches of rain on Saturday, breaking a record from 1893. Naselle had a peak wind gust of 81 miles an hour, and a flood warning remains in effect for the Grays River near Rosburg. As of 3 am today, the river was two feet over the flood stage of 12 feet, with only minor flooding expected. The river crested last night at 15 feet, and is expected to continue receding over the next few hours.