Recent rain poses landslide risk across Western Washington

Steady rain across Western Washington over the past few days has soaked the ground, leading to an increased threat of landslides across the region, the National Weather Service said.

Forecasters in Seattle issued a “special weather statement” about 8 a.m Saturday to warn of landslide potential.

“Heavy rainfall, mostly in the .5- to 2-inch range, has been observed across much of Western Washington since Friday. The heavy rainfall adds to already saturated soil from rainfall over the past several weeks. The recent rainfall has put extra pressure on soil stability,” the statement said.

Meteorologist Josh Smith in Seattle said nearly 1.5 inches of rain has fallen since Tuesday afternoon at Bellingham International Airport, where official measurements are taken. Heavier rainfall is likely higher elsewhere across Whatcom County, he said.

Recent rainfall brings Bellingham to 5.85 inches for the month through Friday night, just over the November average of 5.8 inches, but far below the November record of 11.6 inches set in 1990, Smith said.

One landslide had been reported by noon Saturday – a minor one in Jefferson County. Landslides can be reported to the Washington state landslide risk web page, dnr.wa.gov/programs-and-services/geology/geologic-hazards/landslides.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty