New band of rain to hit Pacific Northwest amid mudslide concerns | Reuters

A band of powerful storms that hit the Pacific Northwest of the United States this week was expected to ease on Friday, though more wet weather was on the way and officials warned of renewed mudslides and flooding following the record rainfall. Periods of heavy rain and fierce winds are forecast to stretch across Washington state, Oregon and Northern California and warnings of coastal and river flooding in Washington extended into Friday, the National Weather Service said. In addition to more rain, strong winds and mountain snow were expected across the Cascades, Sierra and northern Rockies

hidden December 12, 2015 01:46:43 IST
New band of rain to hit Pacific Northwest amid mudslide concerns
| Reuters

New band of rain to hit Pacific Northwest amid mudslide concerns
 Reuters

A band of powerful storms that hit the Pacific Northwest of the United States this week was expected to ease on Friday, though more wet weather was on the way and officials warned of renewed mudslides and flooding following the record rainfall.

Periods of heavy rain and fierce winds are forecast to stretch across Washington state, Oregon and Northern California and warnings of coastal and river flooding in Washington extended into Friday, the National Weather Service said.

In addition to more rain, strong winds and mountain snow were expected across the Cascades, Sierra and northern Rockies.

In Oregon, where two women died in storm-related accidents, Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency for 13 counties.

"Heavy rains and wind have required the evacuation of residences, and mudslides and high water have severely damaged or blocked major roadways in these areas of the state,” she said in a statement.

This week's unusually powerful storms broke at least five weather records for the Seattle area, including the wettest first nine days in December, forced the closure of a major interstate highway and swamped dozens of streets and bridges.

The storm felled trees, knocked out power to thousands of customers, and sent streams and rivers overflowing their banks.

Crews made progress on Thursday night clearing debris from roadways in Washington, officials said. Two northbound lanes of Interstate 5, which connects Seattle to Portland, had been re-opened to traffic by Friday after closing due to a mudslide.

Emergency management officials in both Washington and Oregon have warned of more mudslides after days of ground saturation.

In Oregon, a 60-year-old Portland woman died in bed this week when a tree fell on her house and another woman drowned when her car became submerged in the state's north, officials said.

In a rare event for the Pacific Northwest, the National Weather Service on Thursday said it had received reports of a moderate-strength tornado in Battle Ground, Washington.

NWS forecasters have also warned Alaskans about a powerful encroaching storm that could bring hurricane-force winds to the Aleutian Islands over the weekend. AccuWeather said that system could become "the strongest on record" for the region.

Meteorologists say the El Nino weather phenomenon, which can trigger above-average precipitation on the West Coast, is expected to remain strong through this winter.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Kevin Liffey and James Dalgleish)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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