3 dead as storm slams Pacific Northwest with wind, rain; more than 1 million lost power - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

3 dead as storm slams Pacific Northwest with wind, rain; more than 1 million lost power

SEATTLE (AP) _ About 1.5 million homes and businesses in Washington and Oregon had no power early Friday after howling windstorms and heavy rains caused at least three deaths, closed two major bridges and prompted flooding.

One of the concourses at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was without electricity, and an airport spokesman said some flights were canceled.

About 30 flights were scratched at Portland International Airport, a spokesman said, and Amtrak canceled service between Portland and Seattle.

A 41-year-old Seattle woman died Thursday after she became trapped in her basement while it flooded. Neighbors had called for help after they heard screaming.

Also in Washington, two people died in traffic accidents involving windblown trees.

In Edmonds, north of Seattle, about 50 residents of an assisted living facility were evacuated after a tree crashed through the third floor, flooding the building, Snohomish County emergency management officials said. No injuries were reported, and residents were sent to other facilities.

The hardest hit area was King County, which includes Seattle, where drenching rain accompanied the first wallop as the storm hit Thursday afternoon, slowing commuters to a crawl. The winds picked up again around midnight.

``That second one is when we saw the greatest number of outages, after midnight,'' said Dorothy Bracken, a Puget Sound Energy spokeswoman.

Colder temperatures were expected Friday as the storm passed and winds calmed, bringing heavy snow to lower elevations.

About 700,000 customers of Puget Sound Energy were in the dark early Friday and about three-fourths of the circuits were down in the company's nine-county service area, spokesman Roger Thompson said.

When repair crews were sent to assess damage ``they've had to pull back,'' Thompson said. ``It's just been too hairy out there.''

Some customers won't have their lights back on for days, he said.

Other utilities reported about 300,000 customers without power.

The Evergreen Point floating bridge, which links Seattle and its eastern suburbs, remained closed early Friday and numerous other highways were blocked because of high water or windblown trees. The Hood Canal floating bridge, which links Washington's Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas, and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge were reopened early Friday after being closed Thursday evening because of wind gusts up to 74 mph.

In Oregon, Portland General Electric reported that power had been lost to about 245,000 of its customers _ about 30 percent of its service territory.

``That shows you the effect of the combination of wind and downed trees can have,'' said Mark Fryburg, a PGE spokesman.

Pacific Power, which covers most of the rest of the state, reported 105,000 customers had lost electricity by Thursday night.

The Oregon Department of Transportation closed three major highways crossing the Cascade Range because of fallen trees or downed power lines, and winds gusted past 90 mph on the Oregon coast.

The National Weather Service said rainfall was expected to be as high as 8 inches on the coast and 5 inches in the Cascade Range, with snow at higher elevations.

Rain drenched Qwest Field in Seattle just before kickoff of the NFL game between the Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. The rain left standing water on the field, and about 30 minutes before kickoff, a power surge briefly knocked out the large video screens at both ends of the stadium.

Seattle public schools were closed Friday, as were numerous smaller school systems and The Evergreen State College in Olympia.
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