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Body of Missing Woman Found After Floods

November 8, 2006

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ The body of a woman who disappeared on a storm-battered beach was found Wednesday, the third death during a wave of stormy weather in the Pacific Northwest that smashed rainfall records and threatened hundreds of homes, authorities said. The search continued for the woman’s companion.

The Pineapple Express storm, named for its origin over the warm Pacific Ocean, had abated Wednesday after sending rivers over their banks Monday and Tuesday, causing millions of dollars in damage.

Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski declared an emergency in coastal Tillamook County, where about 100 people were evacuated because of rising water.

The two women were last seen walking on the beach near Gleneden Beach on Tuesday. Lt. Vicky Ryan of the Depoe Bay Fire District said she saw the women and ``cautioned them to not go out on the beach because of the high water.″

They apparently moved to another stretch of beach, she said. The body of one of the women was found Wednesday, Ryan said. She didn’t say where the body was found, saying she couldn’t release more information until relatives were notified.

Two deaths were reported in Washington state, a hunter whose pickup truck was swept into the Cowlitz River and a man who ignored road closure signs and whose vehicle was swept into the same river.

Near Gleneden Beach, 15 to 20 dump trucks hauled gravel to shore up the foundations of three houses whose foundations were threatened by erosion.

Ryan said Wednesday that 300 truckloads of rock had been dumped behind and below the homes as barriers against surf gnawing at the land.

Some highways and numerous local roads were closed Wednesday because of high water, mud and rock slides or flood damage. A section of Interstate 5 southwest of Seattle was reopened early Wednesday after being closed for about nine hours because of high water.

In Snohomish, about 25 miles north of Seattle, flooding entered the municipal sewage treatment plant and damaged a diversion dam on the Pilchuck River. Larry Bauman, town planner, said countywide damage would likely exceed the $5 million caused by flooding in 2003.

``This is a catastrophic event,″ Bauman said.

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire had declared an emergency for 18 counties on Monday, authorizing the National Guard and the Emergency Management Division to offer assistance. Helicopters and hovercraft were put to work making rescues.

Rainfall records were set Monday across western Washington, including 8.22 inches at Stampede Pass, which broke an all-time record for a 24-hour period there of 7.29 inches, set on Nov. 19, 1962. Olympia had a record for the date at 4.31 inches.

The storm dumped up to 15 inches on Oregon by Tuesday, mostly along the coast.

At least one house was swept away and nearly 300 homes and cabins were threatened when the Cowlitz River rose out of its banks and changed course near Packwood, Wash., south of Mount Rainier, said sheriff’s deputy Stacy Brown.

Associated Press writers Curt Woodward in Olympia, Wash., Donna Gordon Blankinship in Seattle and Annie Shooman in Portland, Ore., contributed to this report.

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