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Northwest reels from deadly back-to-back storms

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(CNN) -- A pair of storms that slammed into the Pacific Northwest had much of the region under water Tuesday, leaving five people dead, thousands without power and major highways shut down. The governors of Oregon and Washington have declared states of emergency, hoping to speed relief efforts after storms that pushed up water levels in some areas 25 feet in less than 48 hours.

"My priority is to ensure the safety of Oregonians by providing whatever resources they need to stay warm and dry and protect their property," said Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski.

The floodwaters came frighteningly close to some motorists.

One recalled driving in reverse for half a mile Monday evening after realizing his commute home might end badly.

"You don't realize how quickly you can become a victim. It scared the living crap out of me," Ed Crowdis told The Associated Press.

Oregon's National Guard was using inflatable rafts to rescue stranded residents in some places. video.gifWatch floods make roads look like rivers »

"They're moving down the streets, and through the backyards," Maj. Mike Braibish, spokesman for the National Guard, told the AP.

One of the areas hardest hit is Vernonia, whose 2,300 residents have been stuck after landslides covered roads into the town, the AP reported. video.gifWatch floodwaters rising in Vernonia »



                                               Look at the flowers

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