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.

  • 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.
 (Warning Signs)
     ·         Shivering, exhaustion  
     ·         Confusion, fumbling hands
     ·         Memory loss, slurred speech
     ·         Drowsiness
     ·         Bright red, cold skin
     ·         Very low energy
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.
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)
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
- 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, and
If you need more detailed information or support, please contact us. Get all your weather information at