STATE OF EMERGENCY
OLYMPIA -- Gov. Chris Gregoire declared a state of emergency Monday authorizing state agencies to assist local governments in their response to massive wind and flooding in Western Washington that left at least two dead and caused part of Interstate 5 to be closed.
Gregoire, who said 80,000 people in the region had lost power, cautioned the public against unnecessary travel and driving through standing water on roads, noting that the full extent of the storm damage remained unknown.
All lanes of Interstate 5 near Centralia, the main route between Seattle and Portland, were closed because of flooding. Claudia Cornish, a state Department of Transportation spokeswoman, said the closure could last until Wednesday. It was the first complete freeway closure because of flooding in the area in 11 years, she said.
Mudslides halted north-south Amtrak passenger train service between Eugene, Ore., and Vancouver, B.C.
By midday Monday, families had evacuated their homes, bewildered grandmothers were watching basement water levels rise and government officials were forced to acknowledge that their municipal systems had been pushed over the brink by near-record levels of rainfall. It was the second-wettest day since Seattle started keeping such records.
Image Above: A car rests beneath a section of Golden Gardens Drive Northwest that collapsed early Monday morning during heavy rains near Golden Gardens Park. The road will most likely be closed until spring, city officials said