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U.S. Northwest rocked by high winds, rain; thousands without power

By Eric M. Johnson

The U.S. Pacific Northwest was pounded by wind and rain as the remnants of a typhoon moved onshore on Saturday, downing trees that crushed property and blocked roads, and cutting power to tens of thousands of electricity customers.

Blistering winds and downpours struck coastal areas from Washington state to northern California as authorities warned of possible flooding, but no injuries were reported as of Saturday evening.

The National Weather Service said winds topping 40 miles per hour (64 kph) were slicing through much of the Puget Sound area, where residents had braced for what some feared could be a historic weekend storm.

“We may be past peak as far as winds are concerned, though winds will remain gusty at times along the coast,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Jared Guyer. “There will still be travel difficulties and periods of heavy rain, and high wind and rain is expected to linger into next week.”

Images on social media showed downed trees, debris and crushed homes and cars in several communities in western Washington state and Oregon. Transit authorities in Washington state closed roads in several counties because of fallen trees or water.

More than 4,200 customers were without power in the Seattle area, utility Seattle City Light reported. Puget Sound Energy reported more than 16,700 customers without power in western Washington. In northwestern Oregon, more than 20,000 customers were without power, Portland General Electric said.

“If you don’t need to be out and about during the period of high winds, certainly stay home,” said Matthew Cullen, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Portland, Oregon.

Two inches (5 cm) or more of rain was forecast for coastal areas from Washington state to northern California as the remnants of Typhoon Songda came ashore.

Seattle has logged two days of rain totaling 3.11 inches (7.9 cm) from a first round of Songda, exceeding by more than one inch the total for July through September.

Saturday’s weather was the second day of fierce storms across the region. On Friday, the Oregon coastal communities of Manzanita and Oceanside were hit by two waterspouts that came ashore as tornadoes.

The Manzanita twister destroyed four buildings and damaged about 120 more, but no injuries were reported, Cullen said. The storm was rated 2 on the five-step Enhanced Fujita scale, with winds of up to 130 mph (210 kph), and there were no reports of damage from the Oceanside tornado.

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