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Storm in Seattle

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Storm in Seattle

Post  Panda on Sat 21 Jan - 9:29

Jan 21, 3:26 AM EST

NW storm cuts power, thousands try to stay warm

Associated Press

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

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SEATTLE (AP) -- Tens of thousands of Pacific Northwest
residents faced the prospect of a chilly weekend after a powerful storm
brought snow and ice and left a tangle of fallen trees and damaged power
lines. Several Oregon counties saw their worst flooding in more than a
The National Weather Service forecast
more rain and winds gusting as high as 40 mph Saturday in Western
Washington, a combination that could bring down even more snow-laden and
ice-damaged trees.
Nearly 230,000 customers
were without power late Friday night in Western Washington, about
220,000 of them Puget Sound Energy customers.
utility has brought in repair crews from across the West and planned to
field more than 800 linemen on Saturday, in addition to tree-trimming
crews, spokesman Roger Thompson said.
wind is a wild card that could set us back," he said, adding PSE hoped
to have the majority of the outages restored by Sunday, although some
customers will probably be without power into early next week.
The Weather Service predicted weekend lows in the mid-30s.
Several warming shelters have been opened in the area to aid people whose homes are without heat.
warnings from emergency officials, the first cases of possible carbon
monoxide poisoning surfaced Friday night. Two families in the Seattle
suburb of Kent were taken to hospitals after suffering separate cases of
possible poisoning. Both had been using charcoal barbecues indoors for
The storm was already blamed for three
deaths. A mother and her 1-year-old son died after torrential rain on
Wednesday swept away a car from an Albany, Ore., grocery store parking
lot. An elderly man was fatally injured Thursday by a falling tree as he
was backing an all-terrain vehicle out of a backyard shed near Seattle.
Washington's Mount Rainier, a blizzard kept rescuers from searching
Friday for two campers and two climbers missing since early this week.
Just east of that region, about 200 skiers and workers were able to
leave the Crystal Mountain ski resort after transportation officials
reopened the area's main highway, closed two days earlier by fallen
Near Tacoma, three people escaped
unharmed Friday when a heavy snow and ice load on the roof of an Allied
Ice plant caused the building to collapse. West Pierce Fire and Rescue
Battalion Chief Hallie McCurdy said they heard loud noises and got out
just in time.
As floodwaters receded, residents of Oregon's Willamette Valley began taking stock of damage in soaked cities.
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber paid a visit Friday to the hard-hit town of Turner, where 100 homes were damaged or still underwater.
mainly dry streets belied a morning of terror barely 24 hours earlier,
when emergency crews conducted 55 boat rescues as water filled streets,
homes and businesses.
"You just watch the
water rise hour by hour, and there's nothing you can do about it," Mayor
Paul Thomas said. "It's a long, slower sort of torture."
said the state would work with local and federal officials to try and
get disaster funding to Turner and other communities hard-hit by
The governor praised residents' strong sense of community as neighbors helped each other.
Ko saw that spirit first-hand. From the safety of higher ground, she
watched a live feed from a security camera as water rose over the curb
and lapped against the front door of the convenience store and cafe she
owns just feet from Mill Creek.
Out of the
blue, five strangers showed up and plopped sandbags in front of the
door, preventing damage that she believes would have otherwise been far
more severe.
"Just a godsend," said Ko, a Korean immigrant who has owned the store for six years. "Good person, amazing persons."
in the Willamette Valley, a 35-year-old woman who drove a Ford Mustang
into 4 feet of floodwater 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
Interstate 5, the main road connecting
Seattle and Portland, was briefly closed near Centralia so crews could
remove fallen power lines.
Much of Washington's capital, Olympia, was without power.
Chris Gregoire's office, legislative buildings and other state agencies
in Olympia lost electricity for several hours before power was
restored. The governor thanked repair crews late Friday by
hand-delivering peanut butter cookies.
storm was "a constant reminder of who's in charge. Mother Nature is in
charge, she gives us a wake-up call every once in a while, this is one
of those," Gregoire said.
It was still snowing in the Cascades, with up to 2 feet possible in the mountains over the weekend.
Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle, airlines were trying to accommodate
passengers whose flights were canceled Thursday. The airport's largest
carrier, Alaska Airlines, canceled 50 of its 120 daily departures
Friday. On Thursday, Alaska and sister airline Horizon canceled 310
flights to and from Seattle, affecting 29,000 passengers.
Seattle, Carly Nelson was negotiating an icy sidewalk on her way to
Starbucks. Nelson has been frequenting her neighborhood coffee shop to
avoid cabin fever.
"I'm pretty tired of it. It
gets old pretty fast. All my friends are stranded in little pockets and
you can't get together to go to yoga," she said. "I'm just looking
forward to being able to go wherever I want to go."
reported from Oregon. Associated Press writers Doug Esser, Ted Warren,
Rachel La Corte, Nigel Duara and Nicholas K. Geranios contributed to
this report.
© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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