A powerful wind storm rolled through the Pacific Northwest leaving a trail of damage — including nearly blowing a semi off a bridge, a landslide and more than 500,000 people without power.
Winds reached gusts 50-70 mph in parts of the Puget Sound region as the storm's cold front blew through on the tail end of several inches of rain that left soils saturated and conditions ripe for tree falls, KOMO-TV reported.
Ferndale reported a gust to 70 mph while Federal Way hit 61, SeaTac reported 58 while Tacoma hit 56, Bellevue hit 52 and Everett hit 48 mph.
In Oregon, Dodson residents were told to evacuate after the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning Wednesday morning. Officials issued the flash flood warning just before 5:30 a.m., urging residents of Dodson to evacuate the area immediately, KOIN reported.
.@NWSPortland has issued evacuation notices, flash flood warning for Dodson. Active landslides are making it difficult for responders to safely access community. Residents, leave by traveling east. All others, avoid the area. https://t.co/P8chvAMC12— Multnomah Co. Sheriff’s Office (@MultCoSO) January 13, 2021
The weather service told residents to call friends in the area to wake them up. NWS tweeted that the situation has been “deemed too dangerous to send in rescue crews.”
Eastbound Interstate 84 in Oregon was closed at the Troutdale exit after a landslide spilled onto the freeway near Dodson earlier in the morning.
Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office first tweeted about the landslide shortly before 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Half an hour later, MCSO said the landslide was still active. First responders from the Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon State Police and MCSO are on scene searching for anyone who may have been caught in the debris.
Current scene on NE Frontage Rd. near I-84 interchange. It’s not clear how wide the debris flow is, but deputies estimate it to be several feet deep in places. @OregonDOT is bringing in heavy machinery to clear roadways, once it is safe to enter the slide area. pic.twitter.com/8h3nWdvfoT— Multnomah Co. Sheriff’s Office (@MultCoSO) January 13, 2021
MCSO says they do not know how wide the landslide is, but deputies estimate it to be several feet deep in some areas. ODOT is bringing in machinery to clear the roadways.
Reports of trees down across roads and/or into power lines were spread across the region in the lowlands while closer to the mountains, several rivers began spilling their banks from relentless rains over the past 48 hours.
One USPS semi-truck blew over in 60-65 mph gusts as it attempted to cross the Deception Pass Bridge along State Route 20 in Washington early Wednesday morning, leaving part of the truck leaning precariously over the edge. The driver wasn’t injured but had a harrowing tale to tell.
“I just passed the middle of the bridge and a gust of ... I don’t know how bad ... just picked up my trailer and my truck and just pushed it against the guard rail,” driver Jeff Myles told KOMO NewsRadio. “I slammed on my brakes and I just laid over the guard rail. It tilted about 3 feet each way.”
Myles said his cab was leaning over the edge and it was a mad scramble to get out, but he couldn’t just open his door.
“I could look down at the water (out my window), so I wasn’t going to open THAT door,” he said.