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Rain Adds to Flood Woes in Northwest

October 21, 2003|From Associated Press

SEATTLE — Heavy rain fell again Monday in parts of Washington and neighboring British Columbia, where weekend floods killed three people and damaged roads, and residents were being evacuated due to rising rivers.

Flood warnings were posted Monday for rivers in several counties of western Washington, especially the Skokomish, Nooksack and Skagit rivers, which overflowed Friday and Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

Seattle broke a one-day rainfall record, with the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport reporting 3.48 inches by Monday evening. The previous record of 3.41 inches was set in 1959.

Homes in Skagit County were being evacuated, along with low-lying areas near the small towns of Concrete and Marblemount, officials said.

The Skagit River in northwest Washington appeared to pose the greatest danger. It was forecast to crest near 40 feet -- 12 feet above flood stage -- near Concrete shortly before dawn today, weather service forecaster Chris Burke said.

No additional injuries or deaths were reported Monday, and the rain was expected to diminish today. In most of the threatened areas, rising rivers were inundating low-lying roads and farmland.

Gale-force wind and heavy rain on Thursday and Friday triggered mudslides and cut electricity to more than 50,000 customers in western Washington. One man was killed when he stepped on a fallen power line.

British Columbia had three days of heavy rain. Two people were killed and two were reported missing, 800 people were evacuated and food was being flown into isolated Pemberton because a major bridge was washed out.

Several roads remained closed in Washington, including the only paved road to Neah Bay and the Makah Indian Reservation at Neah Bay, at the northwest edge of the state.

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