2 die in Northwest storms as residents brace for more rain

10 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

2 deaths in Oregon storms.

FALL CITY, Wash. (AP) — While much of the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday got a respite from rains that have pummeled the region for days, mudslides and flooding rivers triggered multiple rescues and claimed the life of a woman after her car became submerged northwest of Portland, Oregon. More than 5 inches of rain have fallen on Portland since Sunday, and strong winds have uprooted trees from the saturated ground. (AP Photo/Steve Dipaola) Next door neighbor Sam Choumxay said he watched in horror as the tree fell onto his neighbor’s house with a thud. Someone called 911 around 6:30 a.m. to report that people were in the river up to their waists and chests beneath the State Route 512 overpass, The News Tribune newspaper reported (http://is.gd/7Wk7jd).

Washington transportation officials closed all lanes of northbound Interstate 5, the state’s busiest highway, in an area about 30 miles north of Portland Wednesday afternoon due to a slide that brought rocks and mud onto the road. To the north, in Fall City, resident Eric West said flooding is typical for the Snoqualmie Valley, but this year seems to be a little worse, with three or four floods. “Times are changing,” West said. “Through the summer, we had the driest summer on record and now we’re making up for all the rain we missed in the summer time.” Officials with Puget Sound Energy say power was restored to more than 60,000 homes and businesses in western Washington on Wednesday. Officials were also trying to figure out how to repair massive sinkholes that opened up on Monday — one in front of Mount Hood Community College in Gresham and another on Highway 22 in Yamhill County. Heavy damage from flooding led officials in Tillamook County to declare an emergency to free up funds for repairs, County Commission Chair Tim Josi said. “It’s more than our county budget can handle,” Josi said, estimating that damage will top $1 million.

Sheriff’s deputies said they rescued several people from their homes in the area Tuesday night and early Wednesday after river flooding trapped them inside. AP journalists Gosia Wozniacka and Steven Dubois in Oregon and Ted Warren, Phuong Le and Donna Blankinship in Washington state contributed to this story. Sound Transit officials in Seattle said their Northline commuter trains would remain out of operation Thursday due to extremely high soil saturation levels. Warren) A Columbia County Sheriff drives through a low point on the road while others line up to go through, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, in Portland, Or.

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