Crews Continue Cleanup After Northwest Storm

20 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Crews continue cleanup after Northwest storm.

SEATTLE (AP) — Well over 100,000 customers were prepping for a third night without power in Washington state Thursday after a storm killed three people and prompted an emergency declaration from the governor. Governor Jay Inslee declared a statewide emergency because of the storm, which left a wide swath of the Puget Sound region under flood watches and warnings. Jay Inslee cleared the way for state officials to increase aid to those with storm damage by declaring a state of emergency Wednesday for all Washington counties. In the Spokane area of eastern Washington, utility Avista warned it could take three to five days to restore services to nearly 115,000 customers without power. In Oregon, fallen trees, mudslides and floods shut down roads across the western part of the state on Tuesday night, including a 80km stretch of Interstate 84 that authorities declared impassible into midday Wednesday.

Allen Kam, with the National Weather Service in Seattle, said rain last weekend may have saturated soil, making it easier for the winds to topple trees. A motorist was killed on Tuesday near the city of Monroe, northeast of Seattle, when a tree fell from a cliff onto his car, said Snohomish County Fire Chief Merlin Halverson. “Many roads are closed from downed trees, active power lines, flood waters,” Halverson said. “It’s a hell of a mess here.” In Spokane, police said a woman was killed by a falling tree, while another woman died on State Route 904 southwest of the city when a tree struck her car, state police said on Twitter. Puget Sound Energy, which supplies customers in parts of Seattle and its suburbs, said fewer than 30,000 customers remain without power, down from a peak of 220,000 customers.

Crews were expected to work around the clock until service was restored and shelters were opening to provide heat and power. “This is the largest crisis Avista has experienced in the company’s 126-year history,” the company said in a news release. To the north, in Snohomish County, the public utility district said about 40,000 customers were without power late on Wednesday, down from 150,000 the night before. King County, home to Seattle, reported severe flooding on the Snoqualmie River, moderate flooding on the Green River and minor flooding on the Cedar River. Highway 2 between Skykomish and the summit at Stevens Pass will remain closed to traffic through the weekend and likely through Wednesday as crews work to fix a bridge damaged by the storm.

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