Road closures, flooding in Northwest due to rain, snow

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Rain, snow and flooding continued to cause problems in parts of Washington and Oregon, with several major roadways closed following more than a week of severe winter weather.

In Oregon, stranded travelers were moving once again on Interstate 84 in the Columbia River Gorge by Wednesday afternoon — some 12 hours after authorities closed the highway’s westbound lanes.

Authorities were still trying to get the road fully reopened. The work was hampered by the need to move jackknifed tractor-trailers and break up ice and snow covering the interstate.

“This is a very, very serious situation out there right now,” Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Don Hamilton told The Oregonian/OregonLive.

Authorities and some area residents were bringing food and water, as well as gas, to stranded travelers, Hamilton said.

Another round of snow was expected Thursday in that area around Hood River, Oregon, with the National Weather Service forecasting from 3 to 8 inches.

The areas around Portland, Oregon, and southwest Washington saw flooded roadways Wednesday after several inches of rain fell across the region in 24 hours.

In Western Washington about 7,500 Puget Sound Energy customers remained without power Wednesday afternoon, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport continued to see flights delayed or canceled, and many schools stayed closed for the third day this week. The main east-west highway in Washington — Interstate 90 — was closed for a second day across Snoqualmie Pass in the Cascade Mountains because of avalanche danger, leaving tractor-trailers to park and wait.

State transportation officials reopened the interstate’s eastbound lanes across the pass at 4 p.m. Wednesday, allowing groups through by meter and holding motorists to a slower speed limit. The westbound lanes will remain closed and will be reassessed Thursday morning, officials said.

Snow also remained an issue for some Washington communities. The town of North Bend, Washington, which is near Snoqualmie Pass, declared a state of emergency because it was dealing with several feet of snow. The declaration by the mayor allows the city to call in additional resources.

The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for areas including Olympia, Seattle, Everett and Port Angeles, warning that excessive runoff from melting snow could cause flooding of creeks, streams, highways streets and underpasses.

The Weather Service was also continuing to alert Western Washington residents about a heightened threat of landslides, tree damage, power outages and roofs collapsing.

Roofs on mobile homes, outbuildings and carports around Puget Sound have collapsed this week due to heavy snow, KCPQ-TV reported . An 85-year-old man in Sequim, Washington, was injured Monday when his home’s roof came down, pinning his leg to the ground. Northeast of Seattle in Monroe, Washington, heavy snow collapsed the roof at a recently built water filtration plant run by the city of Everett, the Daily Herald reported .