Washington State – Governor Declares Emergency After in Storms and Floods Leave 3 Dead


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Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee, declared a state of emergency on 18 November 2015 after a series of storms struck across the state from the 13 November. Parts of neighbouring Oregon state have also been affected.

The storms caused high winds and extreme rainfall resulting in major flooding, saturated soils, landslides, stream bank and slope erosion, fallen tree limbs, broken and uprooted trees, and flying debris.

At least 3 deaths have been confirmed as a result of the severe weather. All 3 fatalities were a result of wind damage. Thousands of homes and businesses have been left without power after winds up to 70 mph (113 kph) tore through the area.

The state of emergency has been declared for all counties in Washington, and state agencies and departments are directed to utilize state resources to assist affected areas in an effort to respond to and recover from the storm damage.

According to the Governor’s statement, the storms also caused “injuries to citizens, significant power outages, evacuations, temporary road closures and detours, rail line closures, ferry system and airline cancellations, and extensive damage to homes, businesses, public utilities, public facilities, electrical power systems, infrastructure, and property.”

Flooding Exacerbated by Wildfire Damage

There is also concern that erosion, landslides and flooding during the recent storms has been exacerbated by wildfire damage. Many areas of the state were affected by major wildfire damage between July and September 2015, which has left large areas of land burned clear of trees and other vegetation.

Rainfall

NWS Seattle said via Twitter that record levels of rain were recorded on 17 November. They said “Record daily rainfall set at Olympia airport. 2.08 (60mm) inches yesterday, the previous record was 1.61 set in 1959.”

Rainfall at Sea-Tac airport also broke records, with 1.16 inches (30 mm) falling on 17 November, beating the previous daily record of 1.06 inches, set in 1982, according to NWS Seattle.

Astoria in Oregon State, saw 68 mm (2.6 inches) fall in 24 hours to 17 November.

River Levels

Flood warnings were issued yesterday by NWS for a number of rivers in the state, including the Skagit in Skagit County, the Snohomish in Snohomish County, and the Snoqualmie and Green rivers, which could affect parts of King County.

Gale warnings are in effect for coastal areas of Washington and Oregon.

floods washington state 2015
Washington Flooding in Stanwood Washington November 2015. Photo: Military Dept. and Emergency Management Division.
Washington Flooding in Stanwood Washington November 2015
Washington Flooding in Stanwood Washington November 2015. Photo: Military Dept. and Emergency Management Division.

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