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Storm pounds the Pacific Northwest

December 15, 2006|From the Associated Press

PORTLAND, ORE. — A powerful storm socked the Pacific Northwest with heavy rain and wind gusts close to 100 mph Thursday, flooding streets, toppling trees and cutting power to thousands.

More than 150,000 customers lost electricity in Washington and Oregon, utilities reported. A wind gust of 97 mph was recorded at Rockaway Beach, Ore., and Washington reported 70-mph gusts on the coast.

Flooding stalled traffic in parts of Seattle, and falling trees and debris forced the closure of several highways in Oregon.

"It's just too unsafe out there to take chances with people's lives," said Bob Doran of the Oregon Department of Transportation. "The brunt of the storm hasn't yet hit, so we are expecting more trees to come down."

The National Weather Service said as much as 8 inches of rain was expected in the region.

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