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Wicked Weather East And West

Temperatures were on the rise in most of the United States on Monday, but so was the bi-coastal misery level.

In the Southeast, up to 100,000 homes and businesses were still without power Monday, four days after an ice storm snapped utility poles and power lines. Some customers may be without heat and light until the middle of the week.

And in the Pacific Northwest, residents and travelers alike were socked in by fog, mud, sleet and snow, as CBS News Correspondent Bill Whitaker reports:

In the Pacific Northwest, 1998 is going out with a blast. At Tillimook, near the Oregon coast, the Coast Guard was called to the rescue on Monday. Heavy rains and heavier tides pushed the Wilson River out of its banks, stranding residents.

It was wet and wild throughout the region. Up north in Washington, the weather was bad. The traffic was worse. More than a foot of heavy, wet snow in the state's Cascade mountains range created a threat of avalanches, prompting the state to closed the two main east-west highways.


At least 4,000 travelers were forced to turn around, take detours of up to 100 miles or wait for the roads to reopen.

"We're just sick of being in the car, you know? I just want to go home," said a stranded motorist.

"Well, I'd rather be sitting right here [in my car] than inside an avalanche," said another motorist.

The roads were finally cleared on Monday afternoon. Snow in the mountains turned to rain at the coast. In Gig Harbor, near Seattle, one saturated hill pushed a house three feet off its foundation.

Not far away in the town of McKenna, a nursing home was evacuated and residents watched warily as the Nisqually River approached flood stage. In fact, there's a flood watch for almost all the rivers in western Washington.

Down the coast in San Francisco, it's what folks can't see that's the problem. When heavy fog rolled in Sunday night, most planes couldn't fly in or out. Air traffic backed up across the country. Air passengers packed into the terminal.

Meterologists predict more bad weather ahead. All in all, a holiday gift from Mother Nature the Northwest gladly would have done without.

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