Storm hammers portions of county

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— An intense storm that moved through the center of Walla Walla County left roads choked with mud and washed at least one bridge crossing out.

County commissioners were asked to declare an emergency today to give the county Public Works Department additional resources to deal with the problem. Commissioners were expected to approve the resolution this morning.

Public Works Director Randy Glaeser said the storm moved through the central section of the county late Sunday and early today, covering a swath roughly between Touchet and east of Lowden from the Oregon state border to the county's northern border.

Mudslides and debris had blocked Woodward Canyon Road and Yox Road. Portions of at least 11 other county roads were also blocked and the crossing at Gobel Bridge on Woodward Canyon Road was washed out.

Glaeser and county Emergency Management Director Jim Duncan said residents reported anywhere from one inch to more than 21/2 inches of rain falling as the storm passed through the county.

Duncan, who lives in Burbank, said when he came to Walla Walla today "when I drove through Touchet this morning there was standing water everywhere."

The declaration of an emergency will allow the Public Works Department to seek resources from outside the county and expedite other processes to get the needed work done to clear the roads.

Glaeser told commissioners "this effort for our crews is just going to be months of work" to repair the damage, which will, in turn, delay other needed work.

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