- Associated Press - Monday, January 5, 2015

HOQUIAM, Wash. (AP) - Torrential rain caused landslides and flooding Monday in parts of western Washington, forcing emergency crews to rescue an elderly woman and her small dog through a hole cut in her roof and washing away the foundations of other homes.

Floodwaters rose quickly as more than 5 inches of rain fell within 24 hours in some areas. High water closed parts of many roads. Widespread flooding was reported from Centralia to the Snoqualmie Valley and farther north.

No serious injuries were reported.

By Monday evening, the National Weather Service said the storm’s heavy rain was over, although some rivers could continue to rise and landslide danger could linger for several days.

Police in the coastal city of Aberdeen hitched a ride on a utility truck to get through flooded streets to reach a woman in her 80s whose house had been swept off its foundation by a mudslide. After firefighters cut a hole in the roof, the woman and her dog were pulled out to safety.

“Not a mark on her. A little uncomfortable from the cold and from being wet, but other than that she was in great condition,” police officer George Kelley told KXRO, adding that the woman refused to leave until her dog was rescued first. She was taken to a hospital to be checked.

In nearby Hoquiam, mudslides from a waterlogged hillside washed out the foundations of three homes, threatened others and forced the precautionary evacuation of about 60 nursing home residents, authorities said.

Police urged residents to leave their homes along a stretch of Queets Avenue at the base of Beacon Hill because of the danger that the whole bluff could give way, Police Chief Jeff Myers said.

“It sounded like thunder, but you could hear trees. It sounded like trees and dirt coming down the hill,” Cynthia Schmid told KOMO-TV. “But we got out alive, so that’s what matters. We had trouble sleeping (Sunday night). I think that was the grace of God letting us know something was going on.”

In Hoquiam, nearly 5.4 inches of rain fell in 24 hours, the weather service said. In Monroe, at the north end of the Snoqualmie Valley east of Seattle, the total was 6.9 inches. Nearly 5 inches fell in an area near Issaquah, about 15 miles east of Seattle. Even more rain fell in the Olympic Mountains and on the west side of the Cascade Mountains.

In the town of Snoqualmie, about 25 miles east of Seattle, city officials urged a precautionary evacuation of one neighborhood near the Snoqualmie River before the waters began to recede.

Water flooded several streets in downtown Centralia, along the Interstate 5 corridor. Flood waters were receding there by Monday evening.

At Taholah on the coast, the Quinault Indian Nation declared an emergency due to rainfall that caused numerous landslides and washouts, tribal President Fawn Sharp said. Some tribal members who live along the Moclips River were evacuated to the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino in Ocean Shores, she said.

Office building owner Gordon West arrived too late with a truck loaded with sandbags at his building on South I Street in Aberdeen. Water was already a foot deep in and around the building.

“If I ran the pump now I would just be pumping water in a circle,” he said Monday.

Grays Harbor County Sheriff Rick Scott said a dozen inmates of the juvenile detention facility on the banks of the Chehalis River in Aberdeen were moved temporarily to the county jail as a precaution.

The storm dropped snow last weekend in the mountains and higher elevations in eastern Washington. It turned to rain at lower elevations, including Spokane, on Monday as temperatures rose above freezing.

Some schools were closed or delayed Monday in Spokane because of road conditions after 5 to 10 inches of snow fell. The city directed residents on Sunday to move their cars to the even side of residential streets to make room for snowplows that were clearing emergency routes and arterials.

___

Associated Press writers Doug Esser and Donna Blankinship in Seattle contributed to this report.

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