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Multiple crashes on I-5 near Kelso during severe weather, at least one person killed

Washington State Patrol said that a hail storm came through, resulting in multiple crashes involving cars and semi-trucks.

KELSO, Wash. — All lanes of Interstate 5 were temporarily blocked on Thursday afternoon after a sudden surge of severe weather resulted in multiple crashes in the area, according to Washington State Patrol (WSP).

Between the various crashes, one person was killed and a man from a passenger truck was taken to the hospital with unknown injuries, Finn said.

The Washington State Department of Transportation said that a collision on the northbound side had blocked all lanes near the Lexington Bridge, beginning just before 2:15 p.m. While the southbound lanes were reopened before 4:45 p.m., northbound lanes remained blocked for several more hours. Traffic was slowly getting by on the shoulder until crews gradually opened more northbound lanes.

When a heavy hail storm began, Trooper Will Finn said, there were collisions on both sides of I-5 near Kelso. On the northbound side alone, there were multiple trucks, passenger vehicles and one motorcycle involved in a single crash.

Between the various crashes, one person was killed and a man from a passenger truck was taken to the hospital with unknown injuries, Finn said.

It was the motorcycle rider who was killed, according to a WSP report. The rider, a 75-year-old woman from Reno who has not been publicly identified, was heading northbound when she lost control and veered into the median. She was thrown from her bike and died at the scene.

According to the report, no other drivers were directly involved in the woman's death, and she was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

WSP troopers estimated that there were three or four separate crashes on either side of the freeway. These collisions each involved between three and five vehicles.

Drivers were encouraged to delay travel through the area, use an alternate route or be prepared for an extended wait on the freeway while troopers and detectives investigate the scene.

"As you can imagine, it is a very dynamic scene right now for investigators," Finn said.

A storm system brought heavy showers and hail through areas of northwest Oregon and southwestern Washington on Thursday afternoon. KGW viewer Dean Kokko, who shared a video, said the hail storm only lasted a couple of minutes but "it was long enough and intense enough to turn the streets and driveways white."

This is a developing story and will be updated with more details as they emerge.

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