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Storm slams Pacific Northwest

More than one million people are without power in Washington and Oregon after a strong winter storm.

BY HEATHER MOYER | PORTLAND, Ore. | December 15, 2006

More than one million people are without power in Washington and Oregon after a strong winter storm blew through the region. Three deaths are being blamed on the weather.

Wind gusts of up to 100 miles per hour were reported in some areas, downing trees and power lines. The National Weather Service issued high wind, blizzard and flood warnings for counties along the coast and inwards in both states. Two people died in traffic accidents caused by the weather and a third person died when she became trapped in her flooded basement.

Coastal and lowland areas are reporting some flooding. Parts of the Cascade Mountains are under winter storm and heavy snow warnings. Three to five feet of snow is expected in some higher elevations.

The National Weather Service released a statement noting that "If you are venturing into or across the Cascades, be prepared for dangerous winter driving conditions (Friday) morning due to heavy snow, gusty winds and poor visibility."

Several major interstates are closed and coastal areas could receive three to five inches of rain, while inland areas along the Interstate 5 corridor will see two to four inches.

Some parts of the coastal mountain range could receive up to eight inches of rain. River flooding is expected to increase today and cities like Seattle and Portland are under flood watches. Some school districts canceled classes Friday due to the weather and power outages.

The storm is expected to bring its strong winds and heavy snow into Idaho, Montana and Wyoming Friday and into the weekend.

The storm also continues to hamper rescue efforts underway on Mt. Hood where three climbers disappeared earlier this week.

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