Nearly a week of rain and snow in the Pacific Northwest has closed roads, caused evacuations and now he’s blamed for the alleged death of a Washington state man.
The 72-year-old man and his car were likely washed away by flooding Friday morning, according to the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office. The vehicle has not yet been found.
The flooding comes as a storm on Friday continued to flood the Pacific Northwest and snow buried a critical highway in almost 40 avalanches.
Between Seattle and Spokane, the main route through the Washington Falls was closed Thursday due to avalanche danger, heavy snowfall and poor visibility. That section of the highway, I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass, remained closed Friday..
“Closed means closed … do not pass the road closure signs”, Washington State Department of Transportation account tweeted Friday in reference to an image of a semi truck buried in the snow in White Pass, another closed section of the highway.
Four mountain passes connecting the eastern and western parts of the state are expected to remain closed for the weekend.
In southwestern Washington, a 20-mile stretch of Interstate 5 was closed in both directions due to flooding from the Chehalis River. All lanes in that area reopened on Friday afternoon.
Residents living in the Skokomish Valley area of Mason County, Washington, were under an evacuation order due to rising water and “impending flooding,” the county said in a news release, CNN reported.
According to the National Weather Service office in Seattle, several Washington cities broke records for rainfall on Thursday, which likely led to flooding, CNN said.
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On Friday, parts of downtown Issaquah, Washington, were closed after Issaquah Creek sent water onto the roads. At least one apartment building was evacuated after the stream overflowed its banks and reached the parking lot below the complex.
Dozens of alerts and advisories were in effect in Washington and Oregon, including a flood warning for the northern Oregon coast after large amounts of rain.
“We are now experiencing one of the most active weather periods in a long time,” wrote Seattle-based meteorologist Cliff Mass on the Seattle Weather Blog Friday afternoon.
Southwest Washington experienced the worst flooding in a decade and some rivers peaked more than 15 feet Thursday night, the National Weather Service said.
The National Weather Service said Hoquiam, Washington, received 5.78 inches of rain on Thursday, the wettest day ever recorded in the city. Other areas saw nearly half the rain they would expect to see for the month of January in one day, according to the weather service.
Forecasters say the rains should subside over the weekend.
Contributing: The Associated Press; The Kitsap Sun