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High Winds Cause Damage in Northwest

November 24, 1998

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Winds gusting to nearly 90 mph ripped through the Northwest, blowing roofs off buildings, knocking out power to thousands of people and contributing to at least one death.

The storm also brought heavy rains and several inches of snow to the region Monday as it downed power lines and sent tree limbs and other debris flying through the air.

``It sounded like a bomb exploded,″ said Lisa Mohun, who was 20 feet away when two plate glass windows were blown out of the closed Two Giraffe’s Bar and Grille in Reno, Nev. ``We thought we were in a war zone.″

Another storm with strong winds and heavy precipitation was predicted for Oregon and Washington today.

Just north of Reno, in Washoe, the National Weather Service reported a wind gust of 89 mph. Gusts of 60 mph were reported in Washington.

At one point, more than 100,000 people were without power in Oregon and at least 5,000 were left with electricity in Washington. Power was knocked out at parts of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, forcing the use of emergency generators. Takeoffs and landings were not affected.

Near Snohomish, Wash., northeast of Seattle, a 46-year-old woman was electrocuted when she got out of her car and came near a downed 7,200-volt power line.

Oregon authorities were forced to close the Independence Bridge, a main commuter route near Salem, after a large tree crashed down on it.

In Jefferson, a 15-by-65-foot section of a high school roof was ripped off in the storm after classes were dismissed for the day.

``We heard this crash, and this big chunk of roof came flying down off the top of the roof and hit our 60- to 70-foot metal flagpole and bent it over,″ said Robert Tower, the school principal.

In Eugene, where the winds reached 48 mph, a woman and a 7-year-old boy were home when several trees fell, cracking their living room roof.

``They thought it was thunder until it crashed through the roof,″ said 16-year-old Sam McElwain, the woman’s grandson.

In California, the Highway Patrol closed 24 miles of Interstate 80 from Sisco to Truckee on Monday night because of whiteout conditions as snow fell at up to 2 inches per hour. As much as 7 inches accumulated in a four-hour period.

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