Power outages in Northwest could continue for days
Saturday, January 21, 2012
SEATTLE (AP) — A Pacific Northwest storm that brought snow, ice and powerful winds left a mess of fallen trees and power lines Friday as tens of thousands of residents already without power faced the prospect of a cold, dark weekend and flooding became a top region-wide concern.
While temperatures warmed and the icy, snowy conditions abated in western Washington and Oregon, slick roads and fast-melting snow brought challenges for road workers, city officials and rescue crews. The region also faces more rain as swelling rivers lead to the worst flooding some Oregon counties have seen in more than a decade.
Meanwhile, the storm system continued its plod east, where it was expected to move into the Plains and Great Lakes regions by Saturday evening.
“It’s definitely a trial we get to endure,” said Jeanette Donigan, whose Turner, Ore., home was surrounded by floodwater, leaving her and her family to seek shelter nearby. “But earthly possessions can be replaced, as long as we got our children to higher ground.”
In the Northwest, the system has been blamed for three deaths that include those of a mother and her 1-year-old boy, who died after torrential rain swept away a car from an Albany, Ore., grocery store parking lot; and an elderly man fatally injured by a falling tree as he was backing an all-terrain vehicle out of a backyard shed near Seattle.
On Mount Rainier, a blizzard kept rescuers from continuing a search on Washington’s Mount Rainier for two campers and two climbers missing in the storm since early this week.
A 35-year-old woman who drove a Ford Mustang into 4 feet of floodwaters in Oregon’s Willamette Valley was plucked from the roof Friday by deputies who arrived by boat to save her. It was one of a number of dramatic rescues in western Oregon, left sodden by as much as 10 inches of rain in a day and a half that has brought region’s worst flooding in 15 years.
The rain in western Oregon was expected to resume Friday, though not as heavily as the previous two days, and forecasters said the Northwest can expect more rain, mountain snow and winds for a week.