US Northwest rains winding down amid record high temperatures

(Reuters) - An atmospheric river that has drenched the U.S. Northwest forced more road closures on Wednesday, but the worst of the rain appeared to be winding down with record high temperatures moving in.

Rivers crested throughout Washington state and Oregon where as much as 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) fell over 48 hours while a weather front stalled over the area, according to the National Weather Service.

The weather system was moving south, providing some relief for Washington while pelting Oregon and parts of northern California, said Rich Otto, a meteorologist for the Weather Prediction Center, part of the National Weather Service.

Even so, emergency management officials in Washington reported some river flooding could persist into Thursday.

"The good news is no rivers are in major flood stage any longer," the National Weather Service in Seattle said on X.

In Tillamook County on Oregon's Pacific coast, the Wilson, Nehalem and Trask rivers were coming down off high-water marks on Tuesday evening yet many roads remained closed on Wednesday including U.S. Highway 101, the Oregon Department of Transportation said.

Meanwhile, Oregon's largest cities Portland, Eugene and Salem all broke temperature records for Dec. 5, with the Eugene high of 64 Fahrenheit (18 Celsius) surpassing the previous record of 60 set 94 years ago.

A high pressure system, similar to what typically happens in the summer, was responsible for the warmer weather as the jet stream moved further north than usual, Otto said.

The rains may have killed two people who appeared to have been swept away by fast-moving creeks in the Portland area on Monday and Tuesday, officials and local media said.

There will be a brief break from rain Friday when a weaker atmospheric river is expected to bring another 2 to 4 inches of rain were expected, Otto said.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by David Gregorio)