Just as the Middle Fork road was about to be opened for the winter season another major storm blew through resulting in yet another extension of the closure. Four inches of warm rain was recorded at Valley Camp for December 8 with an additional 1.22 inches the following day. The TANW1 gage showed a double peak, first at 25,000 cfs at 6pm on December 8 and 24,000 cfs at 5:15am on December 9.
After seeing the effects, the road closure was justified as wind gusts blew down numerous trees, mostly in the first two miles of the road above the Mailbox trailhead. About seven medium sized trees blocked the road to the Dingford trailhead and these were cleared by Friday. Reports continue to come in of blowdowns on trails, but the full impact of this series of severe winter storms may not be known until spring.
After the storm on Wednesday, December 9, a geotechnical engineer inspected the slope and Champion beach and approved opening the roadway through the slide area. There is barrier in place to catch any debris that may come down. ACI is clearing the downed trees through the project area and the road may be open to the public as early as Thurday, December 17.
- 12/07/2015 Seattle Times – ‘1-2-3 punch’ of storms bringing record rain, slides, risk of floods
- 12/08/2015 Cliff Mass Weather Blog – Flooding Ahead
- 12/08/2015 Seattle Times – Heavy rain plus melting snow saturates Washington
- 12/09/2015 Seattle Times – High waters, road and school closures, power outages, forecast
- 12/09/2015 Seattle Times – Widespread flooding slamming the region