Flooding in northwest US starts to abate; 21 people evacuated to safety

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Oregon National Guard troops aboard two helicopters airlifted 21 people to safety on Saturday, and authorities reported a 62-year-old woman who lived in one of the areas hit by floods was missing.

On Saturday, National Guard troops, working with the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office, used two helicopters to evacuate 21 people who were stranded by the floods. The center says more evacuations are planned for Sunday.

Residents were plucked from rapidly rising floodwaters by helicopter or rode to safety in the bucket of a front-end loader as relentless rain and melting snow pushed multiple rivers high above flood stage.

The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office also says that it is searching for a woman who went missing near Bar M Ranch, which has had flooding in recent days. Janet Tobkin Conley, 62, was last seen about 7 p.m. Thursday in the Bar M Ranch area.

Severe flooding in communities in the western foothills of the towering Blue Mountains — near where Oregon, Idaho and Washington converge — closed a nine-mile section of Interstate 84, forced evacuations and stranded at least one family on their roof.

Other parts of the Pacific Northwest are dealing with flash flooding and landslides.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued an updated emergency proclamation for 20 counties as more rain was predicted into the weekend.

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