3 killed, thousands without power in NW wind storm

Weather

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — At least three people have died and hundreds of thousands were without power on Tuesday as a severe storm packing high winds unleashed across the Northwest.

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

Another woman died after a tree fell on her car on Highway 904 about 15 miles southwest of Spokane, according to the Washington State Patrol.

A tree fell on a passing car in Snohomish County, Wash., killing the driver, Nov. 17, 2015 (SNOHOMISH CO. SHERIFF)

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

Their identities were not immediately released.

Puget Sound Energy reported nearly 178,000 customers without power in its Western Washington region Tuesday night as trees toppled onto roadways and power lines.

In Oregon, thousands were without power in the greater Portland area and a flood watch was issued for the northern Oregon coast through Wednesday. State officials said heavy rain caused Portland’s sewer system to overflow into the Willamette River and residents were urged to avoid contact with the river through Thursday evening.Get the latest PGE outage totals here

More than 20 fallen trees closed eastbound Interstate 84 Tuesday night between exit 17 at Troutdale and exit 64 at Hood River for debris removal. Oregon Department of Transportation officials said they expected the closure to last until about noon Wednesday.

The Washington State Patrol temporarily closed Interstate 90 between the towns of George and Vantage in central Washington after winds whipped up a dust storm.For the latest traffic updates and closures, click here.

Area rivers were also flooding from the Snohomish River near Monroe to the Snoqualmie River in King County. About 40 miles northeast of Seattle, Skykomish River was flooding downtown Sultan, prompting residents and business owners to place sand bags and leave for the night.

The National Weather Service issued a windstorm warning that began noon Tuesday and ran until midnight for most of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.

The Weather Service said a Pacific storm system would arrive Tuesday afternoon, with sustained winds of 45 mph and with gusts up to 70 mph in certain areas including Spokane. Rattlesnake Mountain, a 3,500-foot ridge that overlooks the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southwestern Washington, saw wind gusts as high as 113 mph, the Tri-City Herald reported.

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