From the governor's office, where Lt. Gov. Brad Owen is filling in for Gov. Chris Gregoire, who's headed back from a troop visit in Iraq.
Heavy rains pounded much of Western Washington Wednesday through early Thursday, with most rivers flooding, many at record or near-record levels. In Eastern Washington, rains today heighten concerns of minor urban and small stream flooding, and about heavy snow loads on the roofs of homes, businesses and public buildings, especially schools.
Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, Gov. Gregoire’s Chief of Staff Cindy Zehnder, Department of Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond, Washington National Guard Assistant Adjutant Gen. Gordon Toney, Washington State Patrol Deputy Chief Paul Beckley, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency Regional Administrator Susan Reinertson will visit shelters in flooded areas today in Southwest Washington, as well as meet with local officials.
Owen and Brigadier General Gary Magonigle visited Spokane yesterday to meet with local officials and view the damage caused by the record snowfall. Hammond, Beckley, and the Governor’s Chief of Staff Cindy Zehnder visited flooded areas in Western Washington.
Hundreds of families have evacuated from impacted areas. The extent of the voluntary evacuations appears unprecedented in recent history. The American Red Cross reports that more than 260 people spent Wednesday night in 27 shelters, with the majority in Lewis County shelters.