1 killed by tree; storms drench Pacific Northwest

10 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Portland-area weather: Widespread flooding, woman killed as storms pummel NW (live updates).

Officials with Puget Sound Energy say power was restored to more than 60,000 homes and businesses in western Washington on Wednesday. Heavy rains that began Sunday night have inundated the Pacific Northwest, making roads impassable, severing power for tens of thousands of people and killing at least one person.

Here are the latest developments: 4:56 p.m.: Portland General Electric says it has restored service to about 55,000 customers in seven counties since a series of storms began battering the region Monday. The utility says 100 PGE crews, along with 10 contract crews, rushed from outage to outage, battling downed trees, broken limbs, mudslides and flooding. Since the weekend, more than five inches of rain have fallen on Portland and more than three inches on Seattle, according to the National Weather Service. Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency after days of hazardous weather with landslides, power outages and flooding of roadways, homes and property. Forecasters say another round of rain will show up about midnight, but it won’t bring the type of heavy rain that’s caused flooding and problems across northwest Oregon this week.

Vernonia, a town about 40 miles northwest of Portland, was completely cut off for several hours Wednesday morning as landslides blocked road access and a bridge failed. Rain will be steady through Thursday morning and into the afternoon, but then sun breaks should begin to bust through. 3:33 p.m.: For most Oregonians, the intense weather of the last two days was little more than an annoyance — snarled commutes, clogged downspouts, flooded streets.

For Multnomah County’s 16,000 homeless, particularly the estimated 75 who camp along Johnson Creek, the record rainfall and floodwaters offered a double-shot of misery. The declaration also directs the Washington Military Department to coordinate state response activities and can be used to activate the Washington National Guard if necessary. The Washington Department of Transportation has closed all lanes of northbound Interstate 5, the state’s busiest highway, in an area about 30 miles north of Portland due to a slide that brought rocks and mud onto the road.

Dinwiddie said the severe weather had caused its worst damage in the region between Portland and the Pacific Coast, where landslides cut off multiple roads and highways. Others got soaked, stayed soaked and watched their few worldly possessions swept away. 3:24 p.m.: Mail operations are being disrupted in several Oregon cities, the U.S. The flooded park was just down the river from the area where seven people in a riverbank homeless camp were swept into the water and later rescued Wednesday morning.

Transportation officials are urging motorists to use extreme caution throughout northwestern Oregon, and to be prepared for pooled water and lane closures. Spokeswoman Summer Derrey says crews are waiting for safe conditions Wednesday before going in to assess the damage and determine how to make repairs.

The total is less than one-fifth of the 30,000 customers hit by early morning outages, when rain and winds lashed PGE’s seven-county service area. 10:38 a.m.: Heavy flooding has prompted officials in Tillamook County to declare an emergency, the county sheriff said Wednesday. Local officials were warning motorists on Wednesday to continue to drive slowly and be vigilant for potential landslides, as geologists worked to assess roads for safety. Landslides appear to be mostly minor along the stretch of 47, but there are reports of flooded buildings in Vernonia, including an auto parts store. 10:23 a.m.: Traffic on the St. Several Washington state school districts are either closed or getting late starts Wednesday because of a rain and wind storm that is starting to subside. By Wednesday morning, one lane was cleared in both directions, but one lane remained blocked each way. 9:49 a.m.: Estacada and Eagle Creek area residents are waiting while fire officials determine whether flooding will force evacuations.

The urban stream was higher than usual, but not flooding as it had earlier in the week, when the high water triggered evacuations. 8:50 a.m.: The MAX Orange Line is running again in Southeast Portland and Milwaukie. TriMet says to expect delays between 15 and 30 minutes on all MAX lines. 8:40 a.m.: The Wilson River at Tillamook crested Wednesday morning and is now falling. Line 19-Woodstock/Glisan, Line 20-Burnside/Start, Line 32-Oatfield, Line 50-Cedar Mill, Line 55-Hamilton, Line 80-Kane/Troutdale Rd, Line 81-Kane/257th.

Multnomah and Clackamas County are the hardest hit. 7:04 a.m.: Three Portland schools are opening two hours late because of power outages: Marysville School in Northeast Portland and Wilson High and Rieke Elementary schools in Southwest Portland. 6:57 a.m.: Woodard Park in Tigard remains underwater as Fanno Creek continues to crest well over its banks. Check our continually updating report before traveling. 5:54 a.m.: With widespread flooding continuing to hit Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington, a number of schools, agencies and organizations are shutting down Wednesday.

Areas that are experiencing flooding stretch from Astoria, Seaside and Tillamook on the north Oregon coast, to Battle Ground, Washougal, downtown Vancouver and Sandy. The deluge continued Wednesday after the storm front slammed into the area Tuesday night, flooding streets and causing landslides that shut major roads during rush hour.

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