Oregon Governor Declares State of Emergency as Storms and Floods Continue


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Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency yesterday, 10 December 2015, as storms and floods that began on 07 December continue to affect wide areas of the state.

National Weather Service Seattle said that Seattle the first 9 days of December had been the wettest on record. At least 2 deaths have been reported as a result of floods and strong winds.

The state of emergency was declared for 13 counties: Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington, and Yamhill.

Governor Brown said the emergency is due to a severe winter storm, including high winds, flooding, and landslides. In her statement yesterday she said:

“This declaration comes at the request of local officials and is based on the recommendations of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management”.

“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,” Governor Brown said. “The emergency declaration ensures state resources, emergency response personnel, and equipment can be activated to respond to communities in need if their local resources are exhausted.”

The National Weather Service warned today that “periods of heavy rain will continue across the Pacific Northwest and northern California as another in a series of storms moves onshore. In addition to the heavy rain, strong winds and mountain snow are possible across the Cascades, Sierra and northern Rockies. Rain and snow will also move into the inter-mountain west”.

Parts of Oregon and Washington remain under flood watch or flood advisories. The National Weather Service also say that the coastal warning remains in effect for South Washington coast and North and Central Oregon coast until 4pm PST Friday 11 December 2015.

Washington

The state of emergency is in effect until further notice. On 09 December, Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency following “days of hazardous weather with landslides closing major highways, high winds knocking out power to thousands, and rainfall causing wide-spread flooding of roadways, homes and property.”

By 09 December the Northwest Weather Service (NWS) had issued flood warnings for 25 rivers above flood stage in fourteen counties. Some of the most severe flooding has taken place in Cowlitz, Lewis and Snohomish counties. There were also wind and flood advisories in Eastern Washington and some flooding in southern Washington, where the Columbia River overflowed in Kalama forcing some evacuations. Klickitat County Search and Rescue report that there were some evacuations in the Glenwood area.

Flood rescues and evacuations were carried out by i??? near Glenwood, Washington. Photo:
Flood rescues and evacuations were carried out by Klickitat County Search and Rescue near Glenwood, Washington. Photo: Klickitat County Search and Rescue via Facebook

Washington Tornado

National Weather Service Portland also reported a tornado – rare for this region – in the town of Battle Ground, Washington, yesterday 10 December 2015. Via Twitter they said that their “damage assessment team has confirmed that it was a tornado which caused damage in Battle Ground, WA today. Still determining rating”. Later reports say that the tornado was rated as rated an EF-1 and that over 30 homes were damaged.

Montana

Officials from Lincoln County in Montana have declared a state of emergency after two days of rain and melting snow caused flooding near Libby and Troy after heavy rainfall earlier this week.

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