National Weather Service issues high wind watch

December 15, 2012

NEW — 3:30 p.m. Dec. 15, 2012

Meteorologists placed Issaquah and much of Western Washington under a high wind watch Saturday, as a strong low pressure system created the potential for strong gusts from late Sunday afternoon through Monday morning.

The system is expected to develop off the Washington coast Sunday, and the latest computer models from the National Weather Service indicate the low center should move onto the coast early Monday. The system’s exact track remains uncertain, but at least a portion of Western Washington is expected to experience high winds.

Forecasters predicted southwest winds rising to 25 to 35 mph, with gusts up to 60 mph.

Meteorologists issue a high wind watch when the potential exists for a damaging wind event. Strong winds can topple trees, down power lines and damage structures.

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Crews gird for snow removal before flakes start to fall

November 27, 2012

The mercury dips a little lower as November turns to December, winter starts in mere weeks, and the agencies responsible for ensuring roads remain passable in ice and snow readied removal plans for the months ahead.

Issaquah, King County and the state prepare detailed ice and snow response plans long before the flakes start to fall. The agencies face challenges in Issaquah and the surrounding area due to steep terrain, narrow roads and limited funding.

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Soggy conditions could cause street flooding

November 20, 2012

Expect a soggy Thanksgiving and a side of rain on the day before the holiday, as a series of systems batters Western Washington.

The weather comes as rain-soaked Pacific systems barrel across the region in quick succession. National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle said strong fronts should affect Western Washington, and increase the risk of flooding on streets.

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Meteorologists forecast blustery, soggy Thanksgiving

November 19, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 19, 2012

Expect a soggy Thanksgiving and a side of rain in the days before the holiday, as series of systems batters Western Washington.

The weather comes as rain-soaked Pacific systems barrel across the region in quick succession. National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle said the strongest fronts should affect Western Washington through Monday night.

Residents should expect 2 to 5 inches of additional rain to fall in the mountains below the snow level. The influx of moisture increases the landslide risk on slopes.

Then, wet and windy weather should continue through the week, with lulls possible on Tuesday and Thursday, Thanksgiving. Snow is forecast to fall in the mountains, and motorists should prepare for snow in the mountain passes, including Snoqualmie Pass.

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National Weather Service issues flood watch as rain lingers in forecast

October 30, 2012

NEW — 5:30 p.m. Oct. 30, 2012

National Weather Service meteorologists issued a flood watch for Issaquah and Western Washington on Tuesday, as rain pelts the region and lingers in the immediate forecast.

The flood watch is in effect for Western Washington through early Thursday. Under a flood watch, favorable conditions for flooding exist, but flooding is not imminent or occurring.

Forecasters said minor urban and small stream flooding is possible in the next 24 hours, due to a combination of steady rain and leaf-clogged storm drains.

Residents could see ponding at road intersections, in underpasses and along low-lying streets. Motorists should use caution as the rain continues.

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Puget Sound Energy prepares for high seasonal rain, wind

October 12, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Oct. 12, 2012

Puget Sound Energy is prepared if high winds and heavy rain hit the region in the days ahead as forecast, a company executive said Thursday.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle said heavy rain is expected throughout the Puget Sound region over the weekend and into next week. The long spell of dry weather came to a sudden end Friday, and heavy rain is expected to arrive late Saturday.

Andy Wappler, PSE vice president of corporate affairs and a certified meteorologist, said the Bellevue-based utility spent the dry months preparing for autumn and winter weather.

“While the sun was shining these past few months, our crews were busy trimming trees, working on reliability projects and getting ready for winter,” he said in a statement. “Now that the weather is changing, those preparations will help us serve our customers as storm season begins.”

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Department of Natural Resources extends burn ban — again

October 4, 2012

NEW — 6 p.m. Oct. 4, 2012

The state Department of Natural Resources took the unprecedented step of extending the statewide burn ban through Oct. 15, more than a week after the earlier burn ban extension had been set to expire.

Officials attributed the longer ban to a prolonged stretch of unusually dry weather in Western Washington since July and extreme risk of wildfire.

The ban on outdoor burning applies to all Department of Natural Resources-protected public, private and tribal lands, including Tiger Mountain State Forest near Issaquah.

National Weather Service forecasters expect the current danger of extreme fire weather in Western Washington to continue into the weekend. Washington has had no measurable rain in August, and September ranked as the third driest on record.

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Salmon Days Festival returns to downtown Issaquah

October 2, 2012

A chinook tries to surmount the weir Sept. 28 at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. By Greg Farrar

The ode to salmon migration, Issaquah’s iconic Salmon Days Festival, returns to downtown Issaquah on Oct. 6-7.

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Unstable conditions prompt red flag warning for fire danger

September 13, 2012

NEW — 12:05 p.m. Sept. 13, 2012

Issaquah is under a regional red flag warning as a combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and high temperatures create explosive fire growth potential.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle said the red flag warning is in effect until 8 p.m. Thursday.

The combination of wind and humidity can cause fire to spread rapidly. Other factors could lead to larger fires. The red flag warning means critical fire weather conditions already started, or could occur shortly.

Meanwhile, smoke from wildfires in Central and Eastern Washington reached the Puget Sound region.

Smoke from the lightning-sparked wildfires is causing air quality problems throughout the state.

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King County burn ban continues

September 11, 2012

Continued dry conditions have led the King County fire marshal to extend the countywide burn ban until further notice, officials announced Aug. 31.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle said last month marked the driest August ever at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, with only a trace of rain recorded. (Meteorologists use data collected at the airport for official climate records in the region.)

The fire marshal — and officials in Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston counties — declared a regional burn ban in July. The ban was due to end Sept. 1.

Other burn bans remain in effect, too.

The state Department of Natural Resources set a summer burn ban for Tiger Mountain State Forest and other state lands from July 1 to Sept. 30. Eastside Fire & Rescue imposed a summer burn ban from June 15 to Sept. 30.

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