By Eric M. Johnson
SEATTLE (Reuters) - At least two people were killed in Washington state and about 360,000 homes and businesses in the Seattle-area were without power on Tuesday as a storm packing powerful winds downed trees and triggered mudslides, local authorities said.
A wide swath of the Puget Sound region was under flood watches and warnings through Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service said.
The storm, which packed wind gusts up to 49 miles per hour (79 kph), toppled trees and power lines, leaving roads littered with debris. At least two people were confirmed to have died in storm-related accidents, authorities said.
A motorist was killed near the city of Monroe, northeast of Seattle, when a rain-soaked tree fell from a cliff onto the driver's car, said Snohomish County fire chief Merlin Halverson.
"Many roads are closed from downed trees, active power lines, flood waters," Halverson said. "It's a hell of mess here."
In Spokane, in eastern Washington, local police said a fallen tree had landed on a woman, killing her. The Seattle Times reports a third person died in the same area when a downed tree struck her car.
More than 360,000 customers were without power in the Puget Sound region, a local utilities reported late on Tuesday. Puget Sound Energy, which supplies customers in parts of Seattle and its suburbs, reported about 210,000 outages late on Tuesday.
To the north, in Snohomish County, the public utility district said about 150,000 customers were left without power after a "huge windblast," the utility said.
The storm forced the closure of a bridge over the Hood Canal, northwest of Seattle, and gusts up to 49 mph were recorded on the SR 520 bridge over Lake Washington, which links Seattle to suburbs such as Redmond, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
North of Seattle, along roads that traverse the Cascade mountains, a mudslide blocked State Route 20 and downed trees and flooding closed parts of U.S. Route 2, the Department of Transportation said.
King County, in which Seattle is located, reported moderate flooding for the Snoqualmie River, which runs through the county.
The National Weather Service has forecast rain and wind for much of the week.
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Additional reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Los Angeles; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Bill Rigby, Toni Reinhold and Diane Craft; Editing by Toby Chopra)