Crews search for two missing women in Pacific Northwest
PORTLAND, Ore. – The body of a woman who disappeared on a storm-battered beach was found Wednesday, the third death during a wave of stormy weather in the Pacific Northwest that smashed rainfall records and threatened hundreds of homes, authorities said.The search continued for the woman’s companion.The Pineapple Express storm, named for its origin over the warm Pacific Ocean, abated Wednesday after sending rivers over their banks Monday and Tuesday, causing millions of dollars in damage.Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski declared an emergency in coastal Tillamook County, where about 100 people were evacuated because of rising water.The two women were last seen walking on the beach near Gleneden Beach on Tuesday. Lt. Vicky Ryan of the Depoe Bay Fire District said she saw the women and “cautioned them to not go out on the beach because of the high water.”They apparently moved to another stretch of beach, she said. Ryan wouldn’t say where the body was found, pending notification of relatives.Two deaths were reported in Washington state, a hunter whose pickup truck was swept into the Cowlitz River and a man who ignored road closure signs and whose vehicle was swept into the same river.Some highways and numerous local roads were closed Wednesday because of high water, mud and rock slides or flood damage.While river levels were dropping, some were still at flood stage, with recovery and damage assessment still hours or even days away.Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire had declared an emergency for 18 counties on Monday, authorizing the National Guard and the Emergency Management Division to offer assistance.The state Office of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will have crews on the ground next week, said state spokesman Rob Harper.Rainfall records were set Monday across western Washington, including 8.22 inches at Stampede Pass, which broke an all-time record for a 24-hour period there of 7.29 inches, set on Nov. 19, 1962. Olympia had a record for the date at 4.31 inches.The storm dumped up to 15 inches on Oregon by Tuesday, mostly along the coast.—Associated Press writers Curt Woodward in Olympia, Wash., Donna Gordon Blankinship in Seattle and Annie Shooman in Portland, Ore., contributed to this report.