200,000 without power in Northwest

Derrick Lonneker climbs onto a downed power pole, as he works to repair a transmission line damaged by a falling tree near a substation, Friday, Jan. 20, 2012, in Olympia, Wash.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

SEATTLE - Winds have descended to the storm-weary Pacific Northwest and tens of thousands of people remain without power after a snow and ice front left a tangle of fallen trees and damaged power lines.

Several Oregon counties saw their worst flooding in more than a decade.

On Saturday, gusts of up to 50 miles per hour arrived in much of the region, which could bring down more snow-laden and ice-damaged trees. An urban and small stream flood advisory was issued until 3:30 p.m. Saturday for counties across the region. Due to the excess rainfall and the combination of the melted snow, minor urban flooding is expected, as well as the high possibility of landslides.

More than 200,000 customers remain without electricity as of Saturday morning, reported Puget Sound Energy, one of the region's largest utilities. The utility says that they have restored power to more than 250,000 customers.

Puget Sound Energy says that the winds will slow down some of the restoration and doesn't expect some areas in western Washington to have power until Monday or Tuesday.

CBS Affiliate KIRO reports that PSE anticipates about 200 crews from several states to help clean up the area and restore power.

"We started bringing crews on Monday and Tuesday from British Columbia, eastern Washington and Oregon," PSE's Andy Wappler told KIRO. "And today we have crews from Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Montana and Alaska."

The Weather Service predicted weekend lows in the mid-30s. Several warming shelters have been opened in the area to aid people whose homes are without heat.

Despite warnings from emergency officials, the first cases of possible carbon monoxide poisoning surfaced Friday night. Two families in the Seattle suburb of Kent were taken to hospitals after suffering separate cases of possible poisoning. Both had been using charcoal barbecues indoors for heat.

The storm was already blamed for three deaths. A mother and her 1-year-old son died after torrential rain on Wednesday swept away a car from an Albany, Ore., grocery store parking lot. An elderly man was fatally injured Thursday by a falling tree as he was backing an all-terrain vehicle out of a backyard shed near Seattle.

On Washington's Mount Rainier, a blizzard kept rescuers from searching Friday for two campers and two climbers missing since early this week. Just east of that region, about 200 skiers and workers were able to leave the Crystal Mountain ski resort after transportation officials reopened the area's main highway, closed two days earlier by fallen trees.

Near Tacoma, three people escaped unharmed Friday when a heavy snow and ice load on the roof of an Allied Ice plant caused the building to collapse. West Pierce Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Hallie McCurdy said they heard loud noises and got out just in time.

People look out over a flooded street in Corvallis, Ore., Friday, Jan. 20, 2012.
AP Photo/Don Ryan

As floodwaters receded, residents of Oregon's Willamette Valley began taking stock of damage in soaked cities.

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber paid a visit Friday to the hard-hit town of Turner, where 100 homes were damaged or still underwater.

Friday's mainly dry streets belied a morning of terror barely 24 hours earlier, when emergency crews conducted 55 boat rescues as water filled streets, homes and businesses.

"You just watch the water rise hour by hour, and there's nothing you can do about it," Mayor Paul Thomas said. "It's a long, slower sort of torture."

Kitzhaber said the state would work with local and federal officials to try and get disaster funding to Turner and other communities hard-hit by flooding.

The governor praised residents' strong sense of community as neighbors helped each other.