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News / Northwest

Three dead, power out as Northwest storms rage

Toppling trees hit roads, utility lines, vehicles across the state

By LISA BAUMANN, Associated Press
Published: November 17, 2015, 10:56pm
8 Photos
Wind-blown waves batter houses Tuesday in Seattle. Rain and high winds snarled the morning commute in the Puget Sound area and the Inland Northwest braced for severe weather that could include wind gusts to 70 mph. The National Weather Service says a Pacific storm system arriving Tuesday may include sustained winds of 45 mph that could topple trees and cause power outages.
Wind-blown waves batter houses Tuesday in Seattle. Rain and high winds snarled the morning commute in the Puget Sound area and the Inland Northwest braced for severe weather that could include wind gusts to 70 mph. The National Weather Service says a Pacific storm system arriving Tuesday may include sustained winds of 45 mph that could topple trees and cause power outages. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) (ELAINE THOMPSON/Associated Press) Photo Gallery

SEATTLE — At least three people have died and hundreds of thousands had no power Tuesday as a severe storm packing high winds lashed across the Northwest.

Police said a woman in her 50s was killed when a tree fell, taking down power lines, Tuesday afternoon in Spokane. Fire crews were unable to resuscitate the woman.

At its peak, the storm cut power to over 186,000 in the Spokane area alone.

A second woman was killed when a tree fell on her car on Highway 904 about 15 miles southwest of Spokane.

And a man in his mid-20s was killed when a tree crushed his car near Sultan in Snohomish County. The tree landed directly over the driver’s seat, killing him instantly, said Fire Chief Merlin Halverson.

Puget Sound Energy reported over 214,000 customers without power in its Western Washington region Tuesday evening as trees toppled onto roadways and power lines. An electrical power failure at a Tacoma sewer treatment plant allowed wastewater to flow for a short time into the lower Puyallup River.

Ferry trips were delayed or canceled in several areas and Sound Transit trains were delayed due to trees and water on the tracks throughout the system.

Rivers were flooding from the Snohomish River near Monroe to the Snoqualmie River in King County.

The Washington State Patrol closed Interstate 90 between George and Vantage in central Washington after winds whipped up dust.

The Weather Service said a Pacific storm system arrived Tuesday afternoon with sustained winds of 45 mph. Rattlesnake Mountain, a 3,500-foot ridge that overlooks the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, saw wind gusts as high as 113 mph.

Energy company Avista Corp. said more than 113,000 customers had lost power as of Tuesday evening around Spokane and in Northern Idaho. Residents in that area were urged to call 911 only for a life-threatening emergency.

The Methow Valley in north-central Washington received heavy snow.

In Oregon, thousands were reportedly without power in the greater Portland area and a flood watch was issued for the northern Oregon coast through today.

The storm that originated in the Gulf of Alaska could be a harbinger of El Ni?o, the ocean-warming phenomenon that’s predicted to bring heavy rain to the West in the coming months, said Kathy Hoxsie of the National Weather Service.

“It’s the beginning of the winter season,” she said. “We want storms. We want rain. We’ve been projecting that we’re going to have a wet winter and this is a sign that it’s going to happen.”

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