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72-year-old man missing in Pacific Northwest flooding, slides

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Missing Person

72-year-old man missing in Pacific Northwest flooding, slides


Story by LISA BAUMANN

Story   Source

Published on January 9, 2022 5:30 AM
 
BELLINGHAM, Washington (AP) — At least one person was missing and presumed dead as snow turned to rain and deluged the Pacific Northwest on Friday, causing flooding, landslides and avalanche danger in the mountains.

A 72-year-old man never returned after leaving his residence to move his car to higher ground on Friday morning west of Olympia, Washington, in Cosmopolis, according to Grays Harbor Undersheriff Brad Johansson.

The man's residence was on a road that was flooded and authorities fear his vehicle was swept into floodwaters down a steep bank next to his driveway, Johansson said.

Snow and rain forced the closure of parts of Washington state's two major highways — Interstate 90 and Interstate 5 — with flooding that also swamped roads throughout Western Washington and Oregon.

In southwestern Washington's Lewis County, a 20-mile (32-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 5 had been closed in both directions south of Chehalis because of flooding from the Chehalis River. All lanes of Interstate 5 in that area reopened Friday afternoon.

The major route across Washington's Cascades — I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass — closed Thursday due to avalanche danger, heavy snow and low visibility. Stevens Pass on U.S. 2, White Pass on U.S. 12 and Blewett Pass on U.S. 97 also closed Thursday.

Transportation officials say all four mountain passes that connect Western Washington with Eastern Washington likely would remain closed until Sunday because of dangerous conditions.

And part of one of the only other roads crossing the state, State Route 14 on the Washington side of the Columbia River, closed for several hours on Friday because of a fatal crash near Lyle, Finn said.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued an emergency proclamation on Friday because of severe winter storms going back to Dec. 17. State agencies and local jurisdictions are coordinating resources to address damaged property and infrastructure, assess damage caused by the storms and implement repairs, he said.

Washington State University canceled classes Monday and Tuesday to allow students ample time to return to Pullman in Eastern Washington following the severe winter weather, officials said on the university's website. Near Stevens Pass northeast of Seattle, the city of Leavenworth declared a state of emergency and asked for National Guard help after 3 feet (91 centimeters) of snow fell in 24 hours.

City leaders are concerned about the weight of snow on buildings and homes, KCPQ-TV reported.

In Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood, firefighters responded to a home that slid down a hillside. Live video from KING-TV appeared to show crews rescuing a person and working to extinguish a fire just outside the home.

A man trapped in the home's basement was extricated, according to the Seattle Fire Department. A woman escaped on her own while...