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Northwest braces for more storms, widespread flooding, power outages

SEATTLE - Residents in Washington state were bracing on Thursday for fresh rains after the broader U.S. Pacific Northwest was hit by storms that left two dead in Oregon and have triggered widespread flooding, landslides, road closures and left th...

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SEATTLE - Residents in Washington state were bracing on Thursday for fresh rains after the broader U.S. Pacific Northwest was hit by storms that left two dead in Oregon and have triggered widespread flooding, landslides, road closures and left thousands without power.

Periods of heavy rain will continue across the Pacific Northwest and down into northern California as the next installment of storms moves onshore, the National Weather Service said.

"A new front is coming in today and another on Saturday but they are not expected to be as bad," said Mark Stewart, a spokesman for the Washington Military Department.

"We still have rivers over flood stage in eleven counties as of 6 a.m. (local) but most of the rivers have crested and are falling," Stewart added.

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The storms this week, harsh for even a typically water-logged Pacific Northwest winter, have triggered mudslides and flooding, knocked out power to thousands of people, closed roadways and schools, and prompted Washington's Governor Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency.

The storms also were blamed for at least two deaths. A 60-year-old Portland woman died in bed when a tree fell on her house, city officials said. Another woman drowned when her car became submerged in standing high water in the state's north, local media reported.

In Seattle's King County, the Cedar and Green rivers were seeing "minor and moderate" flooding, authorities said.

Puget Sound Energy, a utility that serves Seattle, reported 13,429 customers without power on Thursday morning, down from 37,000 customers a day ago.

In Portland, Oregon, a main utility said its crews worked overnight to restore power to roughly 50,000 customers, though it was unclear how many were still without power in the area.

Transit officials said north-bound lanes of Interstate 5 remained closed on Thursday morning north of Vancouver, Washington.

In Washington, rain-soaked hillsides in Cowlitz County collapsed in back-to-back mudslides late on Tuesday, knocking a house off its foundation and injuring one person, Stewart and local media reported.

In the nearby community of Kalama, flooding prompted evacuations of businesses and homes, and a pool of sewage-tainted water formed over several blocks and began seeping into the police station and other buildings, Stewart said.

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In other counties, emergency crews used rafts to rescue stranded residents and saved a number of people swept from a bankside homeless encampment a swollen river.

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