Friday morning's headlines
Rains expected to cause flooding, high-speed rail in Washington gets a windfall, lawmakers convene for a day.
Flooding Predicted With Weekend Deluge
We're going to get very wet. Heavy rains flowing in on a Pineapple Express are expected to cause flooding on a number of western Washington rivers and leave heavy snowfall on the east slopes of the Cascades. The storm arrives Saturday and will bring the heaviest rains Saturday night and Sunday.
Forecasters at the National Weather Service in Seattle expect flooding along the Puyallup, Tolt and Skokomish rivers, calling the flood threat seemingly 'certain.'
The other rivers that will be under close watch include the Satsop and Chehalis in southwest Washington, the Nooksack and Skagit in the northwest, and the Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Stillaguamish and Skykomish in central Sound.
The News Tribune reports one to three inches of rain is expected in the South Sound with the wettest storm in western Washington in two years.
One Day Session in Olympia
Governor Chris Gregoire is bringing lawmakers to the capitol on Saturday for a one-day special session. Democrats and Republicans have preliminary agreement on $800 million in cuts. They'll need to find a total of $1.1 billion. KPLU's Austin Jenkins is covering the gathering, and in a preview reports the affects will be felt across the public sector.
High Speed Rail Money
As budget cuts are lamented, there are some smiles in Olympia today. The state will get $161 million dollars from the feds for high-speed rail projects. According to The Seattle Times, the specific projects to be funded have to be worked out, but are expected to benefit the Amtrak Cascades service corridor.
The stimulus money is aimed at corridors of 100 to 600 miles, where trains could run fast enough to be a viable substitute for air or car travel. In the Cascades corridor from Blaine to Eugene, the long-term goal is rail travel at speeds in the 90 mph to 120 mph range, according to the administration's national rail plan.
The unexpected windfall is a result of the November elections. New governors in Wisconsin and Ohio say they oppose rail projects in their states, so Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is redistributing federal allocations.