OLYMPIA, WA – Gov. Jay Inslee today proclaimed a state of emergency in Washington following days of hazardous weather with landslides closing major highways, high winds knocking out power to thousands, and rainfall causing wide-spread flooding of roadways, homes and property.
The proclamation covers a series of storms that started on Nov. 30 and is continuing. The storms produced high winds and heavy rainfall that saturated soils, caused major flooding, landslides, stream bank and slope erosion, fallen tree limbs, broken and uprooted trees, and flying debris.
Some of the most severe flooding has taken place in Cowlitz, Lewis and Snohomish counties, but there also were wind and flood advisories in Eastern Washington. Red Cross shelters are now open in Naches, Longview, and Packwood, and a service center is established in Snohomish. Two shelters in Skagit County have closed.
Cowlitz County and each of its cities have declared an emergency, with other counties currently assessing their damages and needs.
“There are people in need across Southwest Washington and the rest of the state and we’re here to provide whatever assistance the local communities require,” Inslee said. “We’re in this together.”
The governor, in the proclamation, directed the Washington Military Department to coordinate state response activities. The proclamation can be used to activate the Washington National Guard, if needed, and as an initial step to request federal resources, should they become necessary.
The State Emergency Operations Center was activated at a Phase III level on Wednesday morning in response to severe weather conditions occurring throughout Washington State. Staff at the State EOC are monitoring the situation and have been working with affected communities to assess their needs.