Thursday, October 21, 2010

Weekend Weather for Columbia County

Columbia County Emergency Management and several local emergency responders participated in a conference call this afternoon with the National Weather Service. They are predicting some strong storms for the weekend as a low-pressure front camps off of Puget Sound and causes the jet stream to hold over NW Oregon and SW Washington. During this time, three storm fronts (starting tonight and the strongest coming Saturday night-Sunday) will swing our way.
Potentials for this weekend include:
* Coast Range/West side of Columbia County--high winds (up to 40-50 MPH) Saturday night and Sunday and total weekend rainfall from 2-5 inches. Wind forecast may change for the good or bad, so please monitor later forecasts for further information.
* Valleys/Eastern side of Columbia County--gusts up to 30-35 MPH at times Saturday night and Sunday and total weekend rainfall of 1-2 inches.
* Potential for a second low to form over SW Washington that may create strong winds even in the valleys Sunday night--check for later forecasts.
* Heavy rains may occur at times. It is possible that the National Weather Service will issue flash flood watches/warnings at times this weekend. The good news is that local rivers are at low levels, so river flooding is unlikely.
Please note that this is a prediction from the National Weather Service based on scientific research, not a foregone conclusion. Updates on weather watches and warnings will be posted to our online networks.


Columbia County Emergency Management

Monday, October 18, 2010

Columbia County Courthouse Holding Emergency Drill

Monday, October 18, 2010


Janet Wright, PIO, 503-397-1035
Derek White, Director, Emergency Management 503-366-3905

Courthouse To Hold Emergency Drill

St. Helens - Employees at the Columbia County Courthouse will be participating in an evacuation drill at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, Oct. 20th. This drill is not anticipated to last more than thirty (30) minutes.

“Citizens should understand that this means your
business activities with County departments or the State Courts will be delayed or interrupted during this time frame and you will be asked to leave the building temporarily,” says Derek White, county emergency management director. “We apologize in advance for the inconvenience, but it is important for our employees to practice their emergency procedures for their safety as well as the safety of visitors to our courthouse.”

If you have questions, please contact Derek White
with Emergency Management at 503-366-3905.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Get Flood Insurance While Rates Are Low!


ST. HELENS–Columbia County is urging residents affected by the new and recently-approved Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood maps to get insurance before November 25th, the day before the new maps take effect.

Columbia County recently completed the process of reviewing and renewing flood maps, which help identify hazard zones and high-risk properties that would be eligible for flood insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Some properties that were not in the flood plain in the past are now listed as in the flood plain, which means those residents may need to purchase a NFIP flood insurance policy.

Columbia County Commissioner Tony Hyde says that residents who were not in the flood plain on the old maps can get flood insurance before the November 25th deadline at a lower rate. “It costs much less than buying the insurance after November 25th and you can grandfather the rate in future years so that the increase is not so expensive.”

According to Glen Higgins, flood plain administrator for the county, if your dwelling has historically been mapped as out of the Flood Hazard area and now with the new maps are in, then you should purchase flood insurance prior to the November 25, 2010 deadline, so you qualify for Preferred Risk Policy. This Preferred Risk rate can be continued on that policy for a period of two years as long as the insurance policy is kept current. After two renewals, your policy will transition to a standard rate schedule, but because you bought a policy when your dwelling was out of the flood hazard area, you can grandfather to the “out of the flood zone” rate, or use the new zone rate whichever is less expensive for you.

Those with mortgages may be forced by their lenders to purchase the flood insurance because standard home insurance does not cover flood insurance, according to Derek White, the county’s emergency management director. “All folks in the flood plain are highly encouraged to get flood insurance even if they don’t have a mortgage company requiring them to do so as home insurance doesn’t cover flooding,” White states.

White also added that NFIP policies will pay claims even when federal disaster help is not eligible. “We had flooding in Clatskanie in January 2009 that did not meet the requirements for a federal disaster declaration. Those who had flood insurance were still able to get assistance with claims they filed and others were unable to get any kind of recovery assistance.”

For more information on the NFIP, go to or call 1-888-379-9531. You may also call Glen at 503-397-7217.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Services for Individuals with Disabilities

The Advisory Council for Columbia County Developmental Disability Program, along with other providers of social services for kids and adults, will be be hosting FREE informational panel discussions on services available to persons with disabilities.

The panel discussions are scheduled for:

* October 12th from 7-8 PM at Columbia Community Mental Health Community Room, 58646 McNulty Way in St. Helens.

* October 26th from 7-8 PM at Clatskanie School District Office, 555 SW Bryant in Clatskanie.

The sessions are open to the public, especially those most interested in the topic. Columbia County Emergency Management will be one of the presenting agencies. For more information, please call Nancy Humphries at 503-438-2223.