Flooding starts to abate, allowing damage assessment

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Flooding starts to abate, allowing damage assessment

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SALEM, Pray. (AP) – The waters that cover roads in northeastern Oregon, hit by the floods, began to subside on Saturday, allowing residents who spent the night in shelters to return and assess the damage, said a Red Cross official.

Some residents at the foot of the Blue Mountains in northeastern Oregon had to be flown by helicopter from their flooded homes and were even taken on a front loader because rain and melting snow caused rivers to reach their banks. Some low-income neighborhoods in Pendleton, a city of 16,000, have been hit, damaging mobile homes, officials said.

Seventeen evacuees spent Friday night at the Red Cross shelter at the Pendleton Convention Center, and numerous people left blankets, pillows and other comfort items, said Nadine McCrindle, executive director of the Red Cross in central and eastern Oregon. Another eight people stayed in a shelter in Walla Walla, Washington.

"They will be able to go to their homes and see what is left, if any, and see what the damage is," said McCrindle. The rain had stopped on Saturday morning, but more was forecast before the sunny weather on Sunday. The National Meteorological Service said the flood warnings were still in effect.

Many roads in Umatilla County, where Pendleton is the county seat, were still closed due to flooding or damage, the county sheriff's office said on Saturday. On Friday, 26 people were evacuated by Umatilla County Search and Rescue, mostly from unincorporated communities east of Pendleton, with air support provided by the National Guard, the sheriff's office said.

The Umatilla River reached the top before 10 pm. Thursday at more than 5.79 meters, almost four times the average height for that date. Rivers across the region have invaded its banks

Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency in Umatilla, Wallowa and Union counties late Friday, allowing the National Guard to mobilize.

Further north, thousands of Puget Sound Energy customers lost power when a cold front crossed western Washington on Friday night.

Also in Washington state, flood warnings have been raised for the Snohomish River, near Monroe, Issaquah Creek and the Carbon River, near Fairfax, KOMO-TV reported. However, many roads remain closed due to landslides, floods and fallen trees in much of King, Snohomish, Pierce, Thurston and Lewis counties.

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