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Thousands without power in wake of Northwest storms

Storms wreak havoc from Northwest to Midwest

Tens of thousands of people were without power in Washington state Tuesday as snow turned to rain in many parts of the Pacific Northwest. Warming temperatures brought relief but also new concerns, as heavy tree branches snapped and contributed to power outages and road closures.

There were also concerns about flooding. The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for parts of Washington and northwest Oregon through Wednesday morning.

Spokane and much of northeastern Washington remained under a winter storm warning on Tuesday, with 3 to 6 inches of new snow expected to fall in the region, the weather service said. Overnight, 5 inches of snow fell in the Spokane region, turning the streets into a slippery mess and prompting numerous school districts to cancel classes for the day.

"Travel could be very difficult," the weather service said Tuesday morning.

For all of February so far, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has received 20.2 inches of snow, making it the snowiest month in more than five decades, the weather service reported.

Winter Weather
Streets, homes and cars remain snow-covered on one of Seattle's steeper hills, Queen Anne, on Mon., Feb. 11, 2019.  AP

Meanwhile, in Oregon, the Portland metropolitan area woke up to heavy rain, but conditions elsewhere were extremely treacherous, with icy roads, snow and a huge storm that has dumped several feet of powder on Mount Hood over the past few days.

There were reports of local flooding around Portland and in southwest Washington state after several inches of rain fell across the region in 24 hours. Officials in Columbia County, Oregon, issued a statement warning drivers of flooding on Highway 30 between Portland and Rainier, Washington, and small mudslides were reported north of Portland.

In total on Tuesday morning, more than 100 million Americans were in the path of powerful winter storms that brought snow, ice and rain from the Pacific Northwest to the Midwest and into the Northeast, CBS News' Don Dahler reported.

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