Northwest storms trigger landslide that kills 1 in Oregon

Fresh storms barreled through the already sodden Pacific Northwest on Friday, triggering a landslide that killed a woman near the Oregon Coast and clogging mountain passes in the Washington Cascades.

In Oregon, Siuslaw Valley Fire Chief Jim Langborg said a man, woman and two dogs were inside a Mercer Lake home, about 3 miles north of Florence, that was destroyed in the landslide early Friday morning. The man and the one of the dogs escaped.

Crews evacuated three other homes as rain pounded the coast. All of the evacuees were able to find their own temporary shelter.

"It was a pretty good slide," Langborg told radio station KCST. "It was impressive."

The Northwest has been pounded by fierce storms for much of December. The storms have sent rivers bursting from their banks, spilled boulders and trees onto highways and spawned a rare tornado that snapped power poles and battered homes in the region. The storms have caused millions of dollars of damage to roads and property.

Moisture from the storms is helping to fill reservoirs earlier and recharging the groundwater in a region that has been plagued by drought. Much of Washington's water supply depends on mountain snowpack that builds over winter, and melts in spring and summer.

The National Weather Service said nearly 2 inches of rain fell at Portland International Airport on Thursday, shattering the old mark of just over an inch set back in the 1970s. Records for Dec. 17 were also swept away in Salem, Eugene and other cities in Oregon and southwest Washington.

Heavy rains in Oregon tailed off on Friday morning.

But heavy snow fell on mountain passes in the Washington Cascades. Classes were canceled or delayed at schools across Eastern Washington because Friday snow made driving treacherous.

As of 5 a.m., 18 inches of snow had fallen on Snoqualmie Pass, 16 inches on Stevens Pass and 11 inches on White Pass. Another 4 to 8 inches of snow was expected later in the day.

Eastbound Interstate 90 was closed 14 miles east of North Bend Friday morning to allow officials to clear out a bunch of spun-out vehicles on Snoqualmie Pass.

It wasn't all bad news. The Alpental and Summit Central ski areas on Snoqualmie Pass were both open on Friday.

The National Weather Service in Seattle said mountain snow and rain in lower elevations would continue into next week.

"Mostly dry weather is possible by Christmas Day," the agency said.

In Spokane, the National Weather Service predicted temperatures in the 40s would melt some of the new snow on Friday afternoon. But more snow was predicted on Sunday and into next week.