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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007, 21:46 GMT
Deadly storms hit US north-west
Two members of the Washington state National Guard help evacuate a flooded home in Centralia, on 4 December 2007
Large areas have been covered with muddy water
High winds and heavy rains have battered the north-west US, killing at least seven people and leaving tens of thousands without power.

Winds of 90mph (145km/h) and up to 11in (28cm) of rain in Oregon and Washington state left behind flooded homes, fallen trees and washed-out roads.

One Oregon town had to be evacuated after it was cut off by a landslide.

The storm has weakened and moved north but a state of emergency and flood warnings are in place in both states.

"The brunt of the storm has passed," said Maj Mike Braibish, public information officer for the Oregon National Guard.

"We are transitioning from the response phase into the recovery phase."

Highway closed

The storms started over the weekend, and winds along the coast were equal to Category 1 hurricane winds.

Map of the USA

"I've never seen anything this bad here," said John McSwain, a police chief in Woodinville, Washington, who has lived in the suburbs of Seattle for 18 years.

Washington's largest highway was covered with 10ft (3m) of muddy water and is expected to stay closed for days.

In Seattle, where the storm was less severe, 4in (10cm) of rain fell during a 24-hour period on Monday.

Vernonia, Oregon, a small city in the west of the state, was flooded after it received 11in (28cm) of rain.

National Guard troops used inflatable rafts to evacuate residents after the town was largely cut off by landslides.

Nearly 75,000 customers lost power in Washington at the height of the storm.

In Oregon, Portland-based Pacific Power said about 36,000 customers had no electricity.

Three of the reported deaths happened in Washington, where one man died in a building hit by a mudslide.

Another died when a tree fell on him, and the third died when an electrical outage shut off his oxygen equipment, officials said.

In Oregon, a 90-year-old woman died after suffering a heart attack as she was evacuated, and a lorry driver died after his vehicle was swept away by floodwaters.

Two hikers were also found dead after an avalanche in the Cascade Mountains, sheriff's officials said.


Read a selection of your comments:

Last year it was snow & ice, and hundreds to thousands of stranded cars because nobody was carrying chains, then wind that cut off power to hundreds of thousands. This year it's a whole bunch of wind and rain, enough rain to flood the basement of my mother's house with an inch of water, where it hasn't flooded at all in the last 20+ years. My brother's school has been shut down until next Monday so that they can clean up flooding there.
Jacob Smith, Seattle, USA

What stands out with this storm is how damage varied region to region, and how this compared to the bad flooding in 1996. Some areas were hit really hard, like the coastal towns. They had high wind damage as well as devastating flooding -- worse than 1996. Closer to Portland, which is about 60 miles inland and in the shadow of the costal mountain range, the effects have been much less -- mostly small stream flooding. Nothing compared to 1996 when all the major rivers flooded in the metro area.
Jeff, West Linn, OR

Lincoln City is on the coast approximately 87 miles southwest of Portland. Beginning Sunday morning and ending Tuesday about 4AM, we experienced 47 hours of sustained winds that exceeded 50 mph. During those 47 hours, 20 hours had winds above 78mph with gusts from 110-125mph. The roar was deafening. At one point we thought our house was going to lift off into outer space. Residents were warned to stay inside, hunker down and stay away from the ocean surges with 40 ft. waves. Our citizens listened and thankfully, the city fared quite well. No loss of life or serious injury. Damages are mostly signs, shingles, and siding due to the wind and fallen trees. Thanks to Pacific Power's hard working crews, electricity was restored late last night. We are now learning of other areas that sustained significant damage and flooding. It was truly frightening. Thanks to all for their prayers.
Kathleen Grimes, Lincoln City, Oregon USA

The rain was so bad in Portland on Monday that you couldn't walk around for more than 20 minutes without getting drenched. All over town you could smell the storm sewer as it overflowed and mixed with the sanitary sewer. Despite the awesome breeze, last Monday was a good day not to sail on the Willamette river.
Adam White, Portland, OR, USA

We witnessed waves on the Washington coast of 45+ feet in height. Winds along the Oregon coast exceeded 100 mph. The Chehalis River is expected to reach maximum today--two days after the rains quit. This river has effectively isolated thousands in lowland areas of southwest Washington state. At least the storm wasn't accompanied by low temperatures. The storm system is called the "pineapple express"--a yearly event where rain-laden clouds make their way from the Hawaiian islands to the US Pacific Northwest.
Larry Brandt, Gig Harbor Washington USA

I live in Seattle, which was not as badly affected by this rainstorm as other parts of my state. *But*. Let's put it this way: I can't recall having seen anything this wet in my life, and I've lived here most of my life(I grew up here and moved away for a while, then came back). Close to one part of town where I used to live, water was pouring into people's basements! I have a friend who still lives there, and I haven't heard how she's been faring. And of course it was much, much worse elsewhere. Anne G
Anne Gilbert, Seattle, WA. USA

I live in Olympia, Washington and I must say we got off a bit lightly. Lost power for a few hours on Sunday but thankfully no problems since. Some intersections flooded and schools were delayed by 2 hrs. Problem was a snowstorm last weekend was immediately followed by a warm front with copious amounts of rain. The melting snow + rain overwhelmed several rivers and even flooded out the main North-South freeway, about 13 miles south of my home. Coastal communities appear pretty hard hit and may not have power for several more days. Rains ceased 2 days ago but rivers are just cresting. Cooler but dry weather returns tomorrow.
Ranil, Olympia, WA

It's been rough, roads were closed for a bit, rain everywhere, puddles on evenly paved streets. We had a load of precipitation for a good 48hrs. Before these rainstorms we witnessed Snow storms.
H L, Seattle, WA, USA

There are parts of I-5 completely shut off due to mudslides and and flooding. Try to imagine that the only way you can leave your town is by kayak.
Miles, Eugene, Oregon

I'm visiting my son & daughter-in-law & grandchildren in Eugene. The city is in the Wi llamette Valley about an hour & a half inland from the Oregon coast. Even here we had winds high enough to knock down trees, and enough rain to cause mini-ponds at several intersections. The storm lasted Sun & Mon with a burst of the heaviest rain late yesterday afternoon that I, from L.A. area, have ever seen. Our grounds and rooftops were covered in downed branches, pine clusters, etc., but except for the necessity of cleaning up there was no damage. The less fortunate people who weathered the storm are in my thoughts and prayers.
Sheri Emond, Eugene, Oregon USA

Even on the tops of hills, people's basements have been flooding here. And a few commuter routes around town have been completely destroyed by mudslides. One of the most noticeable things about this storm (for those of us in less-effected Seattle) is how it has cut Seattle off from Portland. Centralia's flooding has closed the main highway (I-5) between the cities, and the only major route between them now is an 8-hour detour (rather than the usual 3 hour drive/bus/train ride) that goes through a snowed-in mountain pass that regularly closes due to storms.
Miriam R., Seattle, WA

Being British I thought I'd seen my fair share of rain, but I have not experienced anything like we had here on Monday. It rained really really hard ALL day. We spent the whole day wearing our wellies!
Rebecca Michi, Seattle USA



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