Floods And Fallen Firs Out West

Trees and power lines are littering roads in the Seattle area, reports Correspondent Kevin McCarty of CBS affiliate KIRO-TV in Seattle.

The mighty evergreens that flourish in the Pacific Northwest have root bases that are shallow, only from 18 to 24 inches deep, holding up trees as tall as 120 feet. So when the ground becomes saturated with rain and the winds gust up to 60 mph, the trees topple with unusual frequency.

The older the tree, reports McCarty, the more it is at risk. So the wind has turned many of the larger, majestic trees to firewood.

As showers and wind pummel the Pacific Northwest, there's an unusually high amount of rain falling on the Southwest as well, reports CBS This Morning Meteorologist Craig Allen. And the higher elevations are getting snow.

Up and down the western coastline, storms are bringing rain and wind with gusts over 60 mph. Power lines are down all over, and Allen reports that residents are being warned to stay at least 100 feet away from downed wires. Even the ground around them is considered a hot spot.

There's also a problem with severe beach erosion and flash flooding, unusual for this time of year. Usually, explains Allen, flooding becomes a concern with the onset of summer thunderstorms, when rain rolls down from the mountains. This time, the moisture is being generated by storms coming in from the Pacific Ocean.

The Weather Service is warning of high winds on the Washington coast, San Juan Islands, Whidbey and Skagit counties. Forecasters expect 30 to 45 mile-per-hour winds with gusts to 60.

The storm is bringing rain to western Washington and snow to the mountains. A foot or more of new snow is expected in the mountains by Thursday night.