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Year in Review: December floods, wind stifle county

    After a summertime drought, Columbia County was hit hard in December by flooding and a windstorm.

On Monday, Dec. 7, flooding caused landslides along Highway 30 and left several roads in the county closed due to slides and standing water.

Columbia County officials declared an emergency after several buildings sustained flood damage and local roadways were too washed out to drive on.

In Clatskanie, a woman drowned inside her Jeep after her husband drove the couple’s SUV through a flooded roadway with more than four feet of standing water. The man was able to escape and call for help, but his wife did not make it out of the vehicle.

Steady rainfall left the ground saturated with water. By Monday, Dec. 21, a windstorm hit the county with winds up to 54 mph in Scappoose.

COLUMBIA RIVER PUD PHOTO - A line crew works to restore power atop massive trees in the wake of heavy rains and a wind storm that toppled trees and snapped power lines throughout Columbia County. Thousands of households were without power for five days, with some in the dark until late Christmas evening. Heavy winds combined with a saturated ground caused trees across Columbia County to topple, taking out power lines with them.

A widespread power outage left thousands without power, with some households out through Christmas evening.

Columbia River People’s Utility District estimated more than 13,800 customers across the district were affected by the outage. Columbia River Fire & Rescue counted 10 homes that were damaged by trees falling into them. Scappoose Fire District reported a record number of calls for assistance with downed trees in roadways.

Columbia River PUD called for help from neighboring utility districts to get power restored by Dec. 25, recording an unprecedented number of damage to power lines.