Pacific Northwest storm causes major flooding, slides, closes roads
SEATTLE - Snow and rain continued to fall across the Pacific Northwest on Friday, forcing the closure of parts of Washington state’s two major highways — Interstate 90 and Interstate 5 — and causing flooding that swamped roads and closed schools in parts of Oregon.
In southwestern Washington’s Lewis County, a 20-mile stretch of Interstate 5 had been closed in both directions south of Chehalis because of flooding from the Chehalis River.
All lanes of Interstate 5 in that area reopened Friday afternoon, according to Washington state Patrol Trooper Will Finn. He said other roads in that area were still experiencing flooding.
The major route across Washington’s Cascades — I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass — closed Thursday due to avalanche danger, heavy snow and low visibility. Stevens Pass on U.S. 2, White Pass on U.S. 12 and Blewett Pass on U.S. 97 also closed Thursday.
Transportation officials say the four mountain passes that connect Western Washington with Eastern Washington likely would remain closed until Sunday because of dangerous conditions.
RELATED: Here's how to get around Washington mountain pass closures
Flooding over Lewis County, Washington on Jan. 7, 2022. (KPTV via FOX)
Snoqualmie Pass saw 38 natural avalanches overnight on Thursday on the west side of the pass.
Washington State University canceled classes Monday and Tuesday to allow students ample time to return to Pullman in Eastern Washington following the week of severe winter weather in the state, officials said on the university’s website.
Near Stevens Pass northeast of Seattle, the city of Leavenworth declared a state of emergency and asked for National Guard help after 3 feet of snow fell in 24 hours.
In Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, firefighters responded to a home that slid down a hillside.
A man trapped in the home’s basement was extricated, according to the Seattle Fire Department. A woman escaped on her own while one dog died and another is missing, firefighters said.
RELATED: 36" of snow in 24 hours: Leavenworth declares state of emergency due to record snowfall
Dozens of watches and warnings were in effect in Washington and Oregon, including a flood warning for the northern Oregon Coast following huge amounts of rainfall.
The National Weather Service said Hoquiam, Washington, received a record 5.78 inches of rain Thursday. Other areas saw nearly half of the rain they’d expect to see for the month of January in one day, according to the weather service.
Southwest Washington experienced its worst flooding in a decade and some rivers crested at more than 18 feet late Thursday, the National Weather Service said.
East of Seattle on Friday, parts of downtown Issaquah were closed after Issaquah Creek sent water over the roads. At least one apartment building was evacuated after the creek spilled over its banks and into the parking lot under the complex.
People in Issaquah worked through the night into Friday to place sandbags to prevent waters from Issaquah Creek from flooding their homes and property. The creek was expected to crest Friday as a cold front sweeps through and pushes the precipitation east.
In Centralia and around Thurston County, streets were flooding and Washington National Guard members were helping with filling sand bags and other requests, the guard said on Twitter. Sandbags are available for anyone who needs them in Centralia. You can pick them up at W Center S and N Pearl Street.
In northwest Washington, snow was falling in Bellingham while roadways were flooding throughout Whatcom County. Exceptionally high tides and winds were causing coastal flooding around homes in Birch Bay, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.
In northwest Oregon, coastal flooding after heavy rains disrupted communities. Astoria got more than 4 inches of rain Thursday, breaking a record for rain on that date set in 1914.
RELATED: 20-mile stretch of I-5 in Lewis, Thurston counties closed for hours due to flooding
Forecasters say the rains should subside over the weekend.
RELATED: Major flooding in the Chehalis Valley, but a drier weekend ahead
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