Gov. Lowry adds four counties to emergency proclamation

OLYMPIA - Gov. Mike Lowry has proclaimed a state of emergency for four additional counties as a result of the severe winter weather conditions. The governor's proclamation, signed at 9 a.m., adds Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Lewis counties to the 11 counties already named.

Lowry initially proclaimed a state of emergency Sunday, Dec. 29, in Clallam, King, Kitsap, Mason, Island, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston and Whatcom counties. The Washington National Guard was activated to help in areas requesting additional assistance.

"In many parts of the state, it is no longer the snow, but the combination of melting snow and rain that is continuing to cause damage," Lowry said. "We will keep a close flood watch over the next couple of days and I urge all people to make good judgments in deciding whether to travel and to consider personal safety above all other factors."

Heavy rains and snow melt runoff have created flooding on western Washington rivers and in many urban areas. While river levels are expected to stabilize later today, rain storms predicted for Wednesday could bring more widespread flooding. Residents are advised to be prepared and to check with the media for emergency information from local officials.

Flooding and damage to highways are majors concerns in the counties added to the emergency proclamation. The Washington Department of Transportation advises motorists to drive with caution due to treacherous conditions, including snow, ice, slush and standing water in roadways.

The state's major mountain passes, Stevens, Snoqualmie and White, are all closed. For current information about mountain pass conditions, call 1-888-SNO-INFO.

The State Emergency Operations Center in Olympia remains fully activated to support local jurisdictions in their response to the winter storm emergency. Staff from the Washington State Emergency Management Division are coordinating with other state agencies to provide state support for local agency requests for assistance.

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For additional information, contact the Governor's Communications Office at 360-753-6790 or Rob Harper at the Washington Emergency Management Division at 360-438-7737.



The severe winter storm which began December 26, 1996 is continuing to cause extensive damage throughout Washington State.

WHEREAS, heavy snowfall and flooding has caused extensive damage to homes, businesses, roads, and bridges, in Lewis, Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Cowlitz Counties;

NOW THEREFORE, I, MIKE LOWRY, Governor of the state of Washington as a result of the aforementioned situation and under RCW 43.06 and 38.52, do hereby amend the proclamation of December 26, 1996, and further proclaim that a State of Emergency exists in Lewis, Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Cowlitz Counties and authorize execution of the Washington State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.

IN WITNESS WHERE OF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the state of Washington to be affixed at Olympia this 30th day of December, A.D., Nineteen Hundred Ninety-six.

Signed by Mike Lowry, Governor of Washington

Attested to by Ralph Munro, Secretary of State