Thursday, December 5, 2013

Winter Weather Preparedness





Hypothermia Prevention

We would like to share a Hypothermia Fact Sheet that has been put together by the Public Health Foundation of Columbia County.  We urge everyone to become familiar with the signs of hypothermia - onset can happen very quickly in weather like this.

Hypothermia
Highlights
  • When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced.
  • Low body temperature may make you unable to think clearly or move well.
  • You may not know you have hypothermia.
  • If your temperature is below 95°, the situation is an emergency—get medical attention immediately.
·         When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced.
·         Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body’s stored energy. The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature.
·         Body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well. This makes hypothermia particularly dangerous because a person may not know it is happening and won’t be able to do anything about it.
·         Hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, but it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F) if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water.
·         Victims of hypothermia are often (1) elderly people with inadequate food, clothing, or heating; (2) babies sleeping in cold bedrooms; (3) people who remain outdoors for long periods—the homeless, hikers, hunters, etc.; and (4) people who drink alcohol or use illicit drugs.
RECOGNIZING HYPOTHERMIA
 (Warning Signs)
ADULTS
INFANTS
     ·         Shivering, exhaustion  
     ·         Confusion, fumbling hands
     ·         Memory loss, slurred speech
     ·         Drowsiness
     ·         Bright red, cold skin
     ·         Very low energy
WHAT TO DO
If you notice any of these signs, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95°, the situation is an emergency—get medical attention immediately.
If medical care is not available, begin warming the person as follows:
     ·         Get the victim into a warm room or shelter.
     ·         If the victim has on any wet clothing, remove it.
     ·         Warm the center of the body first – chest, neck, head, and groin – using an electric blanket, if available.  Or, use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets.
     ·         Warm beverages can help increase the body temperature, but do not five alcoholic beverages.  Do not try to give beverages to an unconscious person.
     ·         After body temperature has increased, keep the person dry and wrapped in a warm blanket, including the head and neck.
     ·         Get medical attention as soon as possible.
·         A person with severe hypothermia may be unconscious and may not seem to have a pulse or to be breathing. In this case, handle the victim gently, and get emergency assistance immediately.
·         Even if the victim appears dead, CPR should be provided.
·         CPR should continue while the victim is being warmed, until the victim responds or medical aid becomes available.
·          In some cases, hypothermia victims who appear to be dead can be successfully resuscitated.

Additional information related to winter weather health and safety can be found at:

Friday, September 27, 2013


Here are the locations to go for sandbags should they become necessary in this weekend's difficult weather:

Scappoose Fire District: 52751 Columbia River Hwy Scappoose, Oregon  503.543.5026

Columbia County Public Works:  1054 Oregon St St. Helens, (by Animal Shelter) 503.397.5090

Clatskanie Roads Shop: Intersection of Howard & Hwy 47 Clatskanie  503.728.2622

City of St. Helens   1)1230 Deer Island Rd. St. Helens, Oregon  503.397.3532
                               2) McCormick Park  475 S 18th St. Helens (behind Center)

Rainier Public Works:  211 W 2nd St. Helens, Oregon  503.410.2177

Vernonia Public Works:  1625 N Washington Ave, Vernonia   503.429.6921

Be sure to bring a shovel and some gloves to fill the bags. Each of the locations should be available 24 hours a day.  We hope that no one actually has to use them.
Email Weather Briefing
Courtesy: NOAA/NWS, Portland, OR
September 27, 2013
Emergency Managers and Public Safety Officials,
This is an update to our email briefing we sent yesterday (Sep 26). The most significant item to add to today’s briefing is another strong weather system is expected on Sunday. This system will have the potential to produce the strongest winds of the weekend as well as some dangerous conditions in the surf zone.
Expect winds on the coast of 65 to 80 mph, inland valleys 40 to 50 mph during the day on Sunday. Also, high seas (20 to 25 ft seas) and dangerous conditions in the surf zone are expected Sunday and Monday.
The impacts from the first two storms we discussed yesterday remain relatively unchanged. More details below.
SYNOPSIS: A significant change to a very wet weather pattern is underway. The first storm is moving into the region today (Sep 27) with rain becoming steady later this afternoon and evening.
Another system is expected to move over the area Saturday (Sep 28) into Saturday night which will bring heavy rain and strong winds to the region. Rich sub-tropical moisture from an old typhoon has been entrained into this weather system, so heavy rainfall over the region is expected. Rain will increase during the day on Saturday with flooding on small streams likely as well as urban and street flooding. Winds will become strong on the coast in the late morning into afternoon (50 to 65 mph) and throughout the afternoon in the valleys (30 to 40 mph). There may be a brief break in the rainfall and winds late Saturday night into early Sunday morning before a third storm moves in.
Yet another weather system is expected Sunday that may perist into early Monday. This system is expected to produce the strongest winds along the coast (65 to 80 mph) and inland (40 to 50 mph) Sunday into Sunday evening as well as continued rainfall.
PRIMARY AREAS IMPACTED:
Rainfall amounts are for late Friday through late Sunday. Precipitation graphics are included in the attached word document.
  • Coast/Coast Range: Heavy Rain - (3 to 7 inches)
  • Valleys/Gorge: Heavy Rain - (2 to 4 inches)
  • Foothills/Cascades: Heavy Rain - (5 to 10 inches)
Winds
Saturday
  • Coast/Coast Range (mid morning through evening)
    • 60 to 70 mph (headlands)
    • 50 to 60 mph (coastal communities)
  • Valleys (afternoon/evening)
    • 30 to 40 mph.
Sunday
  • Coast/Coast Range (morning/afternoon):
    • 70 to 80 mph (headlands)
    • 60 to near 70 mph (coastal communities)
  • Valleys (afternoon/evening)
    • 40 to near 50 mph.
Sea conditions
Sunday into Monday
  • 20 to 25 ft seas
  • Dangerous conditions in the surf zone
IMPACTS:
  • Heavy Rain:
    • Although rivers and streams are near base flow, there could be sharp rises on smaller creeks and streams and moderate rises on rivers.
    • Flooding on small streams and pasture lands.
    • Likely some urban street flooding as leaves are just beginning to fall and may clog some storm drains. Rainfall rates may be high at times which may cause local street flooding at times.
  • Winds
    • Local power outages likely on the coast and in the valley as strong winds could break weakened tree branches and limbs.
  • Surf Zone
    • Dangerous sneaker waves and rip currents
FORECAST CONFIDENCE:
- High Confidence:
o Heavy rainfall over the area
o Strong winds along the coast and inland
o Sea and surf zone conditions
- Low Confidence:
o Whether flooding will only be confined to small streams and urban areas
UNCERTAINTIES: There is some uncertainty whether the axis of heavy precipitation may stall for a few hours somewhere over the region during the weekend. There is also some uncertainly whether there will be a brief break in rainfall late Saturday night.
Monitor river conditions and forecasts at water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=pqr, www.nwrfc.noaa.gov and weather.gov/portland.
If you need more detailed information or support, please contact us. Get all your weather information at weather.gov/portland

Monday, December 3, 2012

Heavy Rain and Gusty Wind Through Wednesday

We've received word from the National Weather Service of some heavy rain and strong winds coming our way. For the most part, it looks like the area hardest hit will be south of the County. None of our rivers are on their list for possible flooding, but we still stand to see some heavy rain and some gusty wind.There is also the possibility of small stream flooding and some pooling of water. 
 
From today to tomorrow morning, we can expect to see 1/2 to 1 inch of rain (1 to 2 inches of rain in the Coast Range and foothills). From tomorrow morning to Wednesday morning, we can expect to see 1 to 2 inches of rain (2 to 4 inches of rain in the Coast Range and foothills). 
 
Leaves on the ground could clog storm drains and lead to urban ponding. If you can do so safely, please make the effort to clear storm drains on your property. 
 
As far as wind, we can expect 20-25 mph winds inland with gusts of 30-40 mph.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Excessive Heat Watch this Weekend

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat watch for this weekend. With quite a few events taking place this weekend, I know many of us will be spending lots of time in the sun.

Please read below for what you can expect, and the full text of the heat watch.


..EXCESSIVE HEAT WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY AFTERNOON
THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING FOR THE INTERIOR OF SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON
AND NORTHWEST OREGON...

AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY AFTERNOON
THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING.

* TIMING: SATURDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING.

* TEMPERATURE: TEMPERATURES WILL RANGE FROM THE MID 90S TO CLOSE
  TO 100 DEGREES AT LOWER ELEVATIONS
...WITH LOWER TO MID 90S IN
  THE COAST RANGE...THE CASCADE FOOTHILLS...THE WESTERN COLUMBIA
  GORGE AND THE UPPER HOOD RIVER VALLEY. AFTER A RATHER MILD
  SUMMER SO FAR...THESE TEMPERATURES WILL BE THE HOTTEST
  TEMPERATURES OF THE YEAR SO FAR AT MANY LOCATIONS. TEMPERATURES
  WILL RECOVER TO THE LOW 60S SATURDAY NIGHT.

* LOCATIONS INCLUDE: VANCOUVER...BATTLE GROUND...CAMAS...
  WASHOUGAL...HOOD RIVER...CASCADE LOCKS...MULTNOMAH FALLS...
  CORBETT...EUGENE...CORVALLIS...ALBANY...VERNONIA...SALEM...
  MCMINNVILLE...SANDY...SWEET HOME...HILLSBORO...PORTLAND...
  OREGON CITY...GRESHAM...TROUTDALE...ST. HELENS...TOUTLE...
  ARIEL...COUGAR...ODELL...COTTAGE GROVE...LONGVIEW...KELSO...
  STEVENSON...SKAMANIA

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN
POSSIBLE...RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR
EVENING
. KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT
STROKE. WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT AND LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING WHEN
POSSIBLE AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
.

TO REDUCE RISK DURING OUTDOOR WORK THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND
HEALTH ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDS SCHEDULING FREQUENT REST BREAKS
IN SHADED OR AIR CONDITIONED ENVIRONMENTS. ANYONE OVERCOME BY
HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL AND SHADED LOCATION. HEAT STROKE
IS AN EMERGENCY...CALL 9 1 1.

MANY WILL FLOCK TO AREA RIVERS AND STREAMS THIS WEEKEND. MANY OF
THE FATALITIES DURING HOT SPELLS IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST OCCUR
IN AND AROUND WATER.
USE EXTRA CAUTION THIS WEEKEND AROUND AREA
WATERWAYS...AND BE SURE TO WEAR A LIFE JACKET. IT CAN SAVE YOUR
LIFE.

www.weather.gov/

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Frost Advisory for Tonight

Just when you thought it was starting to look like Summer....

The National Weather Service has issued a frost advisory for tonight. Be sure to bring in any fragile plants.

URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE...UPDATED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PORTLAND OR
136 PM PDT WED MAY 9 2012

..CHILLY NIGHT IN STORE FOR SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON AND NORTHWEST
OREGON TONIGHT...

.COOL HIGH PRESSURE FROM THE GULF OF ALASKA IS SETTLING INTO THE
PACIFIC NORTHWEST...BRINGING AN UNSEASONABLE CHILL TO THE AIR FOR
EARLY MAY. SKIES WILL CLEAR IN MOST AREAS SHORTLY AFTER SUNSET.
THE CLEAR SKIES AND LIGHT WINDS WILL PROVIDE OPTIMAL CONDITIONS
FOR COOLING OVERNIGHT. RECORD COOL TEMPERATURES ARE POSSIBLE...
AS TEMPERATURES WILL LIKELY APPROACH THE FREEZING MARK OVERNIGHT
IN THE OUTLYING VALLEYS AWAY FROM METROPOLITAN CENTERS.

ORZ005-WAZ020-022-040-100500-
/O.EXA.KPQR.FR.Y.0001.120510T0700Z-120510T1500Z/
LOWER COLUMBIA-WILLAPA HILLS-I-5 CORRIDOR IN COWLITZ COUNTY-
SOUTH WASHINGTON CASCADE FOOTHILLS-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...ST. HELENS...LONGVIEW...KELSO...
TOUTLE...ARIEL...COUGAR
136 PM PDT WED MAY 9 2012

..FROST ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 8 AM PDT
THURSDAY FOR THE LOWER COLUMBIA
...THE WILLAPA HILLS...THE
INTERSTATE 5 CORRIDOR IN COWLITZ COUNTY...AND THE SOUTH WASHINGTON
CASCADE FOOTHILLS...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PORTLAND HAS ISSUED A FROST
ADVISORY...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 8 AM PDT
THURSDAY.

* TIMING: LATE TONIGHT INTO THURSDAY MORNING.

* TEMPERATURE: LOWER TO MID 30S.

* IMPACTS: SENSITIVE OUTDOOR PLANTS MAY BE KILLED IF LEFT
  UNCOVERED. BUDDING PLANTS AND TREES MAY ALSO BE DAMAGED DUE
  TO NEAR FREEZING OR SUBFREEZING TEMPERATURES.


A FROST ADVISORY IS ISSUED WHEN FROST IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP
DURING THE GROWING SEASON.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

St. Helens Spring Burn Period Starts Saturday

Spring residential burn period for St. Helens starts this Saturday (May 5th) and runs through May 20th.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 1, 2012

SPRING BURN PERIOD FOR ST. HELENS RESIDENTS

The spring burn period for residential open burning in the City of St. Helens will begin on the first Saturday in May, running from May 5-20.

Before burning anything in your yard, a burn permit must be obtained through Columbia River Fire & Rescue (CRF&R). Residential burn permits are now available through CRF&R’s website. If you apply for a permit online and provide your email address, an automated renewal notice will be sent to you via email when your permit is about to expire. Burn permits can also be obtained at CRF&R’s Administration Office or at City Hall.

Burn bans may still be in effect even if you have obtained a burn permit. Always check the burn line at 503-397-4800 to find out if it is an open burn day.

Burn permits last for one year from the date of issue.  However, there are only two authorized burn periods within St. Helens city limits, on the first Saturday in May for 16 consecutive days and the third Saturday in October for 16 consecutive days.

Burning grass clippings, plastics, household garbage, petroleum products and rubber products is not allowed. Burning may only be conducted during daylight hours.

For further information regarding the spring burn period, please see the St. Helens Municipal Code Chapter 8.36 online at http://www.codepublishing.com/OR/sthelens/ or contact the Columbia River Fire and Rescue’s Administration Office, at 503-397-2990.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Revised Community Wildfire Protection Plan Available for Review

Revised Community Wildfire Protection Plan available for review. Changes are in red. Please send comments to Columbia County Emergency Management by May 31, 2012. Thanks!

See http://www.co.columbia.or.us/files/emergency%20management/CWPP_Revised_April2012_PublicReview.pdf

Thursday, March 22, 2012

All-Time Snowfall Records Fall Across Western Oregon & SW Washington

By Steve Pierce, President, Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society

Vancouver, Washington (March 22nd 2012) - "Many cities across Western Oregon and Southwest Washington are setting all-time cold and snowfall records for this late in the season. Since Tuesday night, the Willamette Valley has been blanketed with anywhere from 2" to 9" of snow from Vancouver, WA. south to Eugene, Oregon. Since Tuesday evening, many all-time March snowfall and temperature records have been broken up and down the Willamette Valley at airport locations. Portland, Salem, Eugene and Vancouver, WA. airports all set new coldest daytime high temperature records on Wednesday in addition to setting new all-time records for the heaviest snowfall this late in the season. Eugene, Oregon easily broke their maximum daily precipitation record for Wednesday with 1.92 inches with equated to a record setting 7.5" of snowfall on Wednesday."

"The Portland International Airport recorded 0.5" of snowfall overnight last night which sets a new all-time record for that location. March 22nd 2012 will now go down in the record books as the latest measurable snowfall in Portland Airport history. The period of record at the Portland airport is 1940-2012. The previous latest snowfall on record for the Portland airport was set on March 15th 1946. The excellent staff at the Portland office of the National Weather Service have reviewed daily records that previously indicated both March 20th 1995 and March 25th 1965 as the latest dates for measurable snowfall in Portland. These reports were in fact hail, not snow! Hail was often reported under the snow column on the record sheets. Looking even further back, downtown Portland records indicate that as much as 5" of snow fell in the first week of April in 1936. Records in downtown Portland date back to 1872. It is hard to believe that spring break is just 24 hours away for Oregon students."

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