Melting Snow Causes Heavy Flooding In Wash. State

Thursday, January 8th 2009, 4:54 am
By: News On 6

SNOQUALMIE, Wash. (AP) - First lots of snow, and now lots of misery in parts of the Northwest.

Rain and high winds in Washington state have caused widespread avalanches, mudslides, flooding and road closures. Recent heavy snowfall has started melting rapidly.

More than 30,000 people have been told to leave their homes in a flood-endangered valley southeast of Tacoma. Fire trucks with loudspeakers rolled through suburban Orting advising everyone to leave the town and surrounding valley.

A National Weather Service forecaster in Seattle is predicting there will be a "memorable flood event."

Tacoma's mayor has declared a civil emergency because of flood risks.

Throughout the state, about 60 highways were closed, including every pass through the Cascade Range. A 20-mile stretch of Interstate 5 in southwestern Washington was also closed Wednesday evening.

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