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Rain streak ends for Seattle

From the Associated Press:

Seattle's rainy day string has ended at 27, six days short of the record set in 1953, but the National Weather Service outlook was not exactly encouraging for anyone to break out the sunglasses...

To the south, Olympia's rainy day streak reached 30 days Monday, three short of the state capital's record, also set in 1953...

"Actually, I'd kind of like it to rain today, so we can make the record," said John Blower, who was practicing Frisbee tricks at Alki beach in West Seattle.

Passenger train service remained shut down between Seattle and Everett for the third time in nine days because of landslide late Saturday near Mukilteo. The tracks were cleared for freight trains early Sunday, but Amtrak and Sound Transit commuter service cannot resume before Tuesday morning because of a minimum 48-hour slide closure rule.

Buses were being used to carry passengers around the slide area.

Officials were concerned that the next round of storms could renew flooding, which eased over the weekend after Gov. Christine Gregoire declared a state of emergency Friday in 12 counties. Flood and other rain-related damage is estimated a more than $7.3 million statewide, the governor said...

In addition to direct damages caused by flooding and mudslides, there are also a number of external costs associated with rainfall this heavy.

From the Associated Press:

So it's been raining for weeks. Where does all that water go? The rain falls on fields, golf courses and lawns, on forests and industrial sites. It mixes with oil, pesticides and other nasty substances before finding its way into area lakes and streams _ many of them salmon- bearing _ and eventually into Puget Sound.

"Storm water is a source of pollution, because there are pollutants in our environment that the storm water picks up," state Ecology Department spokesman Larry Altose said.

And there's plenty of storm water _ it rained for 27 days straight, just shy of the 33-day record, before clearing up Sunday.

Industry, septic tanks and manure-rich dairies are not the only polluters putting salmon runs and killer whales at risk.

Cars leak fluids and spew brake-shoe and tire residue onto the street. Homeowners use pesticides to ensure velvety lawns. Pet owners neglect to clean up after their dogs.

"It's everybody's turn," said Fred Felleman of Ocean Advocates. "It's about caring for your car so it doesn't leak oil, using organic alternatives in the garden."

Runoff used to be a concern primarily for lakes and smaller bodies of water. Now larger bodies are at risk as the population booms.

"We each, in our very small ways _ multiplied by the millions of us _ are contributing to the overall pollution of our waters," Altose said.

Despite improvements in public utilities, storm water and sewage still gushes into Puget Sound and the Duwamish River from the greater Seattle area during heavy rains.

Most of the sewage has undergone at least basic treatment before its release.

"There's raw sewage in there but it's really diluted," King County wastewater-treatment spokesman Gary Larson said. At the same time, "we don't recommend swimming in any of these areas."

Posted by Bryan Woods | Permalink