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Pacific Northwest braces for mudslides as record-setting rainfall continues

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A storm system moving across the western United States will bring heavy rain once again to the drenched Pacific Northwest and northern California on Friday, forecasts said, as officials warned of renewed mudslides and flooding following the record rainfall.

In addition to more rain, strong winds and mountain snow were expected across the Cascades, Sierra and northern Rockies, the National Weather Service said.

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In Oregon, where two women died in storm-related accidents, Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency for 13 counties. On Friday, Brown told a news conference that more than 40 landslides had hit state highways.

“Heavy rains and wind have required the evacuation of residences, and mudslides and high water have severely damaged or blocked major roadways in these areas of the state,” she said in a statement.

This week’s unusually powerful storms broke at least five weather records for the Seattle area, including the wettest first nine days in December, forced the closure of an interstate highway and swamped dozens of streets and bridges.

The storm felled trees, knocked out power to thousands of customers, and sent streams and rivers overflowing their banks.

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Two northbound lanes of Interstate 5, which connects Seattle to Portland, had been reopened to traffic by Friday after closing due to a mudslide.

Emergency management officials in both Washington and Oregon have warned of more mudslides after days of ground saturation.

In Oregon, a 60-year-old Portland woman died in bed this week when a tree fell on her house and another woman drowned when her car became submerged in the state’s north, officials said.

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In a rare event for the Pacific Northwest, the National Weather Service on Thursday said it had received reports of a moderate-strength tornado in Battle Ground, Washington. Television footage showed residents clearing debris from roads and blue tarps covering damaged roofs.

NWS forecasters have also warned Alaskans about a powerful encroaching storm that could bring hurricane-force winds to the Aleutian Islands over the weekend. AccuWeather said that system could become “the strongest on record” for the region.

Meteorologists say the El Nino weather phenomenon, which can trigger above-average precipitation on the West Coast, is expected to remain strong through this winter.

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(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson; Additional reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Los Angeles and Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by James Dalgleish and Lisa Shumaker)

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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GOP lawmaker cut the mic on black woman’s facts — but let white men spew ‘lunacy and lies’: report

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The Republican chair of a Tennessee legislative committee is under fire for cutting off the microphone while a woman of color was speaking -- but allowing white men to spew "lunacy."

"It took all of five minutes for Sen. Mike Bell, chairman of the Tennessee General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, to prove Cherisse Scott’s point. Scott is founder and CEO of Sister Reach, a Memphis organization that fights for reproductive freedom and health for rural women and girls of color struggling with poverty," Memphis Commercial Appeal columnist Tonyaa Weathersbee explained.

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Here’s why Jeffrey Epstein surrounded himself with scientists

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The list of confidants and friends who were fêted by the late financier and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein included a number of prominent scientists. Among the eye-popping names that appeared on the list: the late cosmologist Stephen Hawking, Nobel-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann, evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, physicist Frank Wilczek, neurologist Oliver Sacks, and geneticist George M. Church.

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Trump just humiliated his own son with an absurd tweet about Greenland

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President Donald Trump confirmed multiple reports this weekend when he said that he does, indeed, hope to buy Greenland and make it part of the United States.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has said that the country, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, is “not for sale”: “Greenland belongs to Greenland.” Which should be the end of the story. Unfortunately, it’s not.

On Monday, Trump sent the following tweet, apparently trying to quell suspicions that the president just regards Greenland as another place to expand his business empire:

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