Gov. Chris Gregoire declared a state of emergency in response to the brutal winter storm that hit Western Washington, and said "we haven't seen the worst yet."
"It hasn't peaked," Gregoire said Monday afternoon. "We are concerned with what Mother Nature has in store for us."
Most of the Olympic Peninsula, Kitsap County and southwest Washington were hit particularly hard by the storm. Gregoire said some 80,000 people had lost electric power across Western Washington.
Rescue helicopters from the Coast Guard and the Navy were dispatched to rescue people stranded at their homes because of heavy winds and flooding, officials said.
About 150 people were stranded at some point Monday across the region, Gregoire said, with about half of them reported rescued by early Monday evening. Many of those rescues were conducted by boat. Four hikers stranded by harsh weather also were rescued from the Snoqualmie Pass area, officials said.
All lanes of Interstate 5 near Centralia, the main route between Seattle and Portland, Ore., were closed because of flooding.
When the Chehalis River crests Tuesday, its expected peak of nearly 75 feet would put the surface of I-5 under about 5 feet of water, state Department of Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond said.
The highway agency also said the closure could last at least 36 hours, although Hammond said the length of the closure was tough to predict.
Hammond noted that in 1996, the last time the freeway was shut down completely due to flooding in the area, it was closed for about four days.
In Lewis County, where the swollen Chehalis River closed the freeway, emergency crews were working well after sundown to monitor and rescue people trapped at their homes.
Boats were used throughout the day, with GPS-equipped helicopters taking on a bigger role after dark - in some cases plucking people from the roof of a house, sheriff's Detective Matt Wallace said.
"We're still plugging away. We'll be going all night," Wallace said. "As long as people need help, we're going to get them out." Nevertheless, no fatalities were reported in the county and one case of hypothermia was the only notable injury, Wallace said.
How Bad Will The Rivers Flood?
Flooding was expected to reach record severity along the Chehalis, Skokomish, and Elwha rivers. For the Chehalis, the river will flood places it's never flooded before near Centralia, Lewis County officials said.
Rivers expected to reach major flooding: Tolt, Snoqualmie, Bogachiel, Dungeness, Snohomish, Skagit (upgraded from minor).
Rivers expected to reach moderate flooding: Skykomish, Nooksack, Deschutes, Nisqually, Satsop, and Issaquah Creek.
Rivers expected to reach minor flooding: Cowlitz, Stillaguamish, and Puyallup.
The information is fast changing so the best advice is to go to and bookmark this link: forecast.weather.gov. ( You might need to scroll down. Some of Portland's flood warnings will be listed there too, and it's listed chronologically by update time.)
Rain was falling at historical levels as well. As of 3 p.m., Seattle had 3.47 inches of rain -- making it the second wettest day in Sea-Tac history, with more rain falling.
Mudslides halted Amtrak passenger train service between Portland and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Farther east, snowslides temporarily closed the major Cascade Mountain passes carrying traffic on Interstate 90 and U.S. 2. Both passes were reopened Monday evening.
Much of Grays Harbor County, on the southern Washington coast, was without electricity.
Roads leading into the county's population centers were cut off for most of the day, but one patched-together route from Olympia to Ocean Shores was finally punched through by Monday evening.
Grays Harbor County sheriff's Detective Ed McGowan, the county's incident commander for the storm, confirmed the two deaths.
One man in Aberdeen died when a tree fell on him as he was trying to clear another downed tree; the other person died from an undetermined medical problem after power was lost, McGowan said.
The National Weather Service said 3 to 6 inches of rain had fallen across much of Western Washington. The 24-hour rain total for Bremerton was 10.78 inches, meteorologist Chris Burke said Monday evening.
"Washingtonians have endured quite the weekend," the governor said, adding that the danger from floods was not likely to subside until Thursday. Her emergency declaration puts thousands of National Guard troops on standby if local officials need help.
Lewis County urged residents in flooded areas to evacuate. Several shelters were opened.
Winds gusted to 81 mph in Hoquiam early Monday before the National Weather Service line went down. Gusts reached 85 mph in Astoria, Ore., and 93 mph in Clallam Bay. Father south, wind gusts were reported as high as 12
A weather spotter reported winds of 60 mph gusting to 90 mph at 5 a.m. at Clallam Bay on the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula.
The Elwha River on the northern Olympic Peninsula was expected to flood at record levels. Major flooding was predicted on the Tolt and Snoqualmie rivers near Carnation, east of Seattle.
Flood warnings also were issued for numerous other rivers. Rain-saturated soil also increased the risk of landslides, the weather service said.
Rain and gusty winds were forecast for the west side of the state at least through Tuesday.
Drivers must avoid all flooded areas, and residents without power must remember to never run electric generators or barbecue grills indoors because of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning, Gregoire said.
In Olympia, the rain turned a normally small creek into a roiling, muddy surge of water that tore through a wall at the Ranch House BBQ. Tables and booths were strewn across the street, and a storage shed was pushed about 300 feet away.
Christy Romo, who lives just up the hill from the restaurant, said she could hear the floodwaters coming and started packing before the first floor of her cabin was inundated.
"I knew I wouldn't have much time," Romo said. "I heard a bang, and then saw the water rising quickly."
Other News Tidbits:
-- Hood Canal Bridge reopened at 5 o'clock after being closed most of the day.
-- Seattle's Nathan Hale High School closed due to flooding and won't open until Wednesday.
-- The King County road division reports as least five mudslides that closed roads.
-- The city of Bothell declared an emergency and ordered the evacuation of the North Creek business park and the Northshore School District Administration Building Monday.
-- River data show the Skokomish River nearing all-time record flood stage. The previous record flow rate on the Skykomish near Potlatch was 13,800 cfs set in 1976. The latest reading on that same meter is now 27,000 cfs.
The previous flood-stage record was set in 1997 at 17.64 feet. We have now broken that at 18.1 feet and rising. Prepare for major flooding on a level never seen before along that river. Records have been kept on that river since 1929.
-- A mudslide blocked part of Westlake Avenue North in the 2400 block. Another mudslide blocked one lane of Highway 99 near 14th Avenue South, and a sinkhole ruptured the road at Golden Gardens Drive NW and NW 85th Street near Ballard.
-- Standing water was also a big problem on all area roadways. Seattle Public Utilities says it has 12 crews out cleaning drains and responding to calls for help. The utility says it has had about 150 customers asking for help with backed-up drains and ponding.
-- Crews are using sandbags along Thornton Creek where Meadowbrook Pond is overflowing.
-- The Lynnwood fire department says flooding has forced the evacuation of about five residents from an apartment building to the Lynnwood Recreation Center. Everett police says residents of a half dozen homes have been evacuated as a precaution because of an overflowing storm retention pond.
-- The Lewis County sheriff's office has activated emergency operation centers in Chehalis and Packwood to help respond to flooding. The sheriff's office says families have been evacuated in the Curtis and Pe Ell areas. Shelters have been opened at the Boistfort Lions Club and Winlock Community Center.
-- Average seas of 46 feet, with some waves recorded as high as 70 feet have been recorded by offshore buoys off the north Oregon Coast. In fact, the weather buoy off the Columbia Bar became ripped from its tether and is now adrift in the Pacific.
Road Closure Information:
Storm Stats So Far:
Wind: Peak Gusts So Far
- Bay City, Ore.: 129 mph (Unofficial)
- Lincoln City, Ore.: 125 mph
- Bay Center, Wash: 119 mph (Unofficial)
- Cape Disappointment: 104 mph
- Tillamook, Ore. (tide station): 100 mph
- Florence, Ore: 91 mph
- Clallam Bay: 90 mph (estimated)
- Hurricane Ridge: 86 mph
- Astoria, Ore.: 85 mph
- Destruction Island: 84 mph (Sustained 65-73 for several hours)
- Tatoosh Island: 82 mph
- Hoquiam: 81 mph (Station went dark at 4 a.m.)
- Cannon Beach, Ore: 80 mph
- Tillamook, Ore (Airport): 74 mph
- Ocean Park: 67 mph
- Aberdeen: 62 mph
- Long Beach: 60 mph
- Forks: 58 mph
- Bellingham: 53 mph
- Shelton: 51 mph
- Oak Harbor: 49 mph
- Kelso: 41 mph
- Olympia: 39 mph
Rain: Storm totals since Midnight through 4 p.m.
- Shelton: 4.81" (gauge stopped reporting)
- Seattle: 3.47"
- Olympia: 2.82"
- Everett: 2.70"
- Tacoma: 1.96"
- Sequim: 0.28". (The Olympic Rain Shadow is in full force today. Take a peek at the radar and note the big hole over the northeastern Olympic Peninsula.)
The main theme of where we go from here is: calm.
Some light showers will linger through the day Tuesday, but some dry time expected in between. Highs will be around 50.
By Tuesday night, the storm track drifts off to the south and we get exactly what the doctor ordered: A dry stretch.
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday are now looking dry and partly sunny(!) (aside from a few lingering showers Wednesday morning). We could see some morning frost as lows will drop to around 30, but not much concern. (Some ski resorts are starting to open -- looks like some great time to sneak up to the hills.)
Rain returns for next Sunday, and this one looks pretty run of the mill -- with rain in the lowlands and a good dose of mountain snow for the Cascades