BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) – Nearly 50,000 Washington state electricity customers still had no power on Tuesday after days of heavy rain triggered mudslides and flooding and forced the closure of the West Coast’s main north-south highway near the Canadian border, officials said.
The rains caused by an atmospheric river – a huge plume of humidity spreading over the Pacific and into Washington and Oregon – eased and road crews were able to reopen the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 near of Bellingham, Washington. But the northbound lanes of the highway were still closed in the area.
At the height of the storm, around 158,000 electric customers on Monday had no power and schools in the town of 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 being seen in flood waters hanging from a tree.
And a Bellingham motorist was injured when a tree fell on a vehicle. Evacuations were ordered in several areas as floodwaters overwhelmed business districts and partially submerged cars in communities north of Seattle and winds blew at speeds of 60 mph (96 km / h), including a gust of 58 mph (93 km / h) at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Forecasters predicted drier conditions on Tuesday, but the National Weather Service has issued flood warnings for several rivers around western Washington. Early Tuesday, the National Weather Service said there was good news that the Skagit River at Mount Vernon would peak at nearly 36 feet (11 meters), more than a foot below the estimate. former.
Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency for severe weather events in 14 counties and said the state’s emergency management division, with support from the Washington National Guard, will coordinate the response.
In the city of Hamilton, about 80 miles northeast of Seattle, cars and trailers were piled up in the parking lot outside the Red Cross evacuation site at Hamilton Baptist Church, where dozens of residents wait for the storm to end, the Skagit Valley Herald reported.
Skagit County officials compared the flooding to severe flooding in 2009, when the Skagit and Samish rivers overflowed and caused damage to homes, farms and infrastructure,
As water flooded the Skagit River, people were warned to expect flooding and evacuation orders for other communities.
And just south of the Canadian border in the community of Sumas, Wash., Officials said city hall was inundated in a flood that reminded people of the severe flooding of 1990.
MPs evacuated stranded residents and the person who was still missing was swept away by floodwaters after being seen holding on to the tree, police in the small town of Everson said in a Facebook post . The injured motorist in Bellingham was seriously injured Monday morning while driving on Interstate 5.
Bellingham’s record-breaking precipitation on Sunday totaled 2.78 inches (7 centimeters), smashing the previous 1998 daily record of 0.88 inches (2.2 centimeters), according to the National Weather Service. Another 1.89 inches (4.8 centimeters) descended on Bellingham on Monday.
West of Seattle on the Olympic Peninsula, several highways were partially closed and the US Coast Guard helped local authorities evacuate a dozen people near the town of Forks. In the nearby town of Quillayute, a daily record rainfall of 4.01 inches (10 centimeters) was recorded on Monday.
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