National Weather Service warns of heavy rains

MARYSVILLE — The National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement forecasting heavy rain across Western Washington, including the Marysville and Arlington area.

The Special Weather Statement was issued Friday morning.

"Heavy rain is expected across Western Washington this weekend and early next week," according to the statement. "This long spell of unusually dry weather for Western Washington will come to an abrupt end today [Oct. 12] as the first in a series of weather systems moves in to the Pacific Northwest. The system will bring widespread rain, but precipitation amounts will not be very large."

The National Weather Service continued, "A front brining heavier rain will arrive late Saturday with significant precipitation continuing Sunday and Monday. Rainfall amounts during the period from Saturday afternoon through Monday evening will likely be around 3 to 8 inches in the mountains, with the heaviest precipitation over the Olympics and North Cascades. Rainfall over the Western Washington lowlands will probably range from 2 to 4 inches along the coast and 1 to 2 inches over the interior lowlands. Due to the unusually dry antecedent conditions, river flooding is not expected during this episode. However, rivers will rise sharply. Breezy to windy conditions are also likely at times during this period, especially along the coast and in the northwest interior."

The National Weather Service also warned that, "the stormy period will impact driving and traffic safety. Rain will combine with the oil that has built up during the long dry spell and create slick road surfaces. In addition, some minor urban and small stream flooding is possible, especially if wind-blown leaves are allowed to clog drains and cause ponding in intersections, underpasses and low-lying streets."

You can get more weather information, including watches, warnings and advisories, from the National Weather Service here.

You can get information about local river levels from the Snohomish County's Real-Time Flood Warning Information webpage.

Due to the forecasted rainfall, the Washington State Department of Transportation is urging drivers to plan for a wet commute Friday.

According to WSDOT, drivers should dust off their how-to book for wet, fall-weather driving. The Friday commute may see the first significant rainfall in the Puget Sound region in more than 80 days.

“We know the first big rain can bring slick driving conditions,” said Dave McCormick, Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance and operations manager. “This year may be more challenging because it has been so long since we’ve had any measurable rain.”

The heaviest rain is forecast for the weekend, but drivers could see wet roads sometime Friday.

Drivers can do their part to keep traffic moving by following these basic tips for driving in wet weather: leave plenty of following distance between vehicles; focus on driving and not on the cell phone; and check conditions and traffic before leaving. Drivers may also want to add 15 minutes or more to their commute.Drivers who get into a collision should: move to the right to get out of traffic; stay in the vehicle until help arrives; and never stand or walk into traffic for any reason.

WSDOT crews are planning for the wet commute as well. Incident responders will be out in full force clearing roads and helping drivers along the key commute corridors, including Interstate 5, Interstate 405, State Route 520, Interstate 90, State Route 99 and State Route 16 throughout Seattle, Bellevue, Everett and Tacoma.

To help drivers stay on top of changing traffic conditions, passengers can watch for WSDOT’s two popular traffic Twitter feeds which focus on Tacoma traffic and Seattle/Bellevue/Everett traffic.

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