Tue, 20 Nov 2012 11:07 UTC
Rain and wind pounded Washington and Oregon on Monday, flooding streets, toppling large trucks and cutting power to more than 20,000 people.
Nearly 2 inches of rain fell in six hours in one Seattle neighborhood - a total that Seattle Public Utilities meteorologist James Rufo-Hill called "extraordinary."
"It was a pretty big storm for most of the city - lots of rain in a relatively short amount of time," he said, but several neighborhoods "really got drenched."
By late Monday night, 2.13 inches of rain had fallen for the day at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, shattering the record of 1.23 inches for Nov. 19 set in 1962.
Other areas of Western Washington fared even worse. More than 7 inches fell over a two-day period in Potlatch, Mason County, more than 6 inches in Bremerton and nearly 4 inches in Olympia, meteorologist Jay Neher said, according to The Seattle Times.
The drenching caused widespread flooding of roads and highways and some residential neighborhoods, and even sewage overflows in parts of Seattle and Everett, Wash. Several blocks of downtown streets were briefly flooded in Port Orchard, west of Seattle.
Wet weather was expected to continue through the week, but National Weather Service meteorologist Jay Neher in Seattle said that the "heavy rain is over."
"We're into showers now," he said.
Weather Service meteorologist Ted Buehner said he had one "screaming message" for those traveling across mountain passes for Thanksgiving: "Be prepared for hazardous winter weather - and that includes coming back," Buehner told The Seattle Times.
On Oregon's northwest coast, an elk hunter was killed Monday morning when a tree crashed on his tent near Nehalem. Two hunters in an adjacent camp heard the tree snap as gusts reached more than 70 mph, and saw it lying across the tent. They cut it away in an attempt to rescue the man, to no avail.
Nearly 44 million people in the U.S. will travel this Thanksgiving week with a whopping 90 percent driving. NBC's Tom Costello reports.
Tillamook County Sheriff Andy Long identified the hunter as Nathan Christensen, 52, of Seattle.
A Portland police officer was seriously injured during all-terrain vehicle training when a tree fell. Sgt. Pete Simpson said the accident on Hayden Island in the Columbia River appeared to be weather-related.
In southwest Washington, a Washington State Patrol car and another vehicle were struck by a tree carried by a mudslide on U.S. Highway 101 near Naselle.
The patrol car started burning, and the trooper had to break a window to crawl to safety. The trooper was unhurt, and the female driver of the other vehicle was OK except for neck pain. Both vehicles were destroyed by the fire.
Strong winds overturned large commercial trucks on two highways Monday. One tractor-trailer rig tipped over while crossing the Astoria-Megler Bridge that carries U.S. 101 across the Columbia River. That caused a lengthy traffic headache.
Another tractor-trailer rig was blown onto its side in the middle of the Chehalis River Bridge in Aberdeen, on the Washington coast, Aberdeen police said.
Peak wind gusts in Washington reached 101 mph on the Astoria bridge and 61 mph at Hoquiam on the coast. They hit 114 mph on isolated Naselle Ridge in the mountains of southwest Washington, the Weather Service reported.
Thousands of people in Oregon and Washington were left without power on Monday.
Flood warnings were issued for a handful of western Washington rivers, with moderate flooding expected Tuesday along the Chehalis River in the Centralia area. Residents there were told where to find sandbags and were directed to move any endangered livestock to higher ground.
The Weather Service reported 24-hour rainfall totals as of Monday evening that included 4.09 inches in Bremerton, west of Seattle; 2.97 inches at Hoquiam on the Washington coast; and 6 inches at Cushman Dam on the Olympic Peninsula.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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