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Pacific Northwest Recovering From Floods

SEATTLE (CN) - Floods, landslides and highway closures are expected to ease this week after record-breaking rain left two dead and caused governors to declare states of emergency in Oregon and Washington.

Emergency declarations are an initial step in requesting federal aid and allowing the National Guard to help with rescue and clean-up activities.

Portland got more than 5 inches of rain last week and Seattle broke a record with 2.13 inches of rain on Tuesday.

A landslide closed northbound Interstate 5 in Southern Washington on Thursday and Highway 2, a major route over the Washington's Cascade Mountains, was blocked by mud and debris on Wednesday. Both highways were open again by Sunday.

Amtrak restored passenger service Friday after closing tracks north of Portland and Seattle due to debris on the tracks.

A woman died Wednesday in Portland when a large Douglas fir tree, uprooted by wind from the saturated ground, crashed into her home. Another woman drowned after driving into a flooded road in Clatskanie, Ore.

Seven homeless people camping along the Puyallup River in Pierce County, Wash., were rescued after being swept into the water.

Oceanside, on the Oregon Coast, was still cut off Sunday because a culvert failed on Highway 131, the only way in or out of town.

Both states this week are expected to see a return to normal winter weather of daily showers.

It was an early indication, perhaps, of what the West Coast, particularly the Northwest, can expect from this year's El Niño weather pattern in the Pacific.


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