Nearly 50,000 people are still powerless after the Washington state storm
Bellingham, wash. Nearly 50,000 power customers in Washington state were still without power on Tuesday, officials said, after days of heavy rains that triggered mudslides and floods and forced the closure of the main north-south highway on the west coast near the Canadian border.
Rain brought by an atmospheric river—a massive plume of moisture extending over the Pacific Ocean to Washington and Oregon—was abating, and road crews were able to reopen the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Bellingham, Washington. But the northbound lanes of the highway remain closed in the area.
At the height of the storm, about 158,000 electricity customers were cut off on Monday, and schools in Bellingham were closed on Tuesday for the second day in a row.
North of Bellingham, authorities said one person was still missing on Tuesday after he was seen in floodwaters clinging to a tree.
. A Bellingham motorist was injured when a tree fell on a car Evacuation orders were issued in multiple areas as floodwaters inundated commercial areas and partially submerged cars in communities north of Seattle Winds gusted at 60 mph (96 km/h), including one A 58-mph (93 km/h) gust at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Forecasters predicted drier conditions would emerge on Tuesday, but the National Weather Service issued flood warnings for several rivers around western Washington.
Governor Jay Inslee declared a severe weather emergency in 14 counties and said the state’s Department of Emergency Management, with support from the Washington National Guard, would coordinate the response.
In the town of Hamilton about 80 miles (129 kilometers) northeast of Seattle, cars and trailers were packed in the parking lot outside the Red Cross evacuation site at Hamilton Baptist Church, where dozens of residents awaited the storm, the Skagit Valley Herald reported.
Skagit County officials compared the flooding to severe flooding in 2009, when the Skagit and Samish rivers overflowed and damaged homes, farms and infrastructure,
As the water made its way down the swollen Skagit River, people were warned to expect flood and evacuation orders for other communities.
Just south of the Canadian border in the community of Somas, Washington, officials said, the municipality was submerged in a soak that reminded people of the severe floods in 1990.
Police from the small town of Iverson said in a Facebook post that MPs evacuated stranded residents, and that the person still missing was swept away by floodwaters after he was seen holding a tree. The injured motorist in Bellingham was seriously injured in the early hours of Monday morning while traveling on Highway 5.
Bellingham’s rainfall on Sunday totaled 2.78 inches (7 cm), breaking the previous daily record from 1998 of 0.88 inches (2.2 cm), according to the National Weather Service. Another 1.89 inches (4.8 cm) spilled onto Bellingham on Monday.
West of Seattle on the Olympic Peninsula, many highways were partially closed and the US Coast Guard helped local authorities evacuate about 10 people near the town of Forks. In nearby Quillayute, record daily rainfall of 4.01 inches (10 cm) was recorded on Monday.
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