Monday, February 28, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
...ANOTHER COLD WINTER STORM HEADING FOR THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST...
A storm system originating in the gulf of Alaska is likely to bring heavy snow to the mountains of NW Oregon and SW Washington (specifically Cowlitz County) Sunday through Monday. Snow is expected to begin as early as tonight in SW WA, the prospects for heavier snow will spread down from North to South later Sunday through Monday. Snow levels will once again be very low with they system. The Hazardous Weather Advisory will be in effect from midnight tonight until 8:00 a.m. Sunday.
*Timing: Snow is expected to develop late tonight and continue into Sunday morning with accumulations about an inch or less at lower elevations, up to 2 inches above 1000 feet.
Friday, February 25, 2011
*Black ice is tricky because it is invisible, which means that people often do not reduce their speed until they hit their first patch. Unfortunately, hitting black ice at too fast a speed even once can be enough to lose control of your vehicle. If you know that the temperature has dropped below freezing or may be hovering around that point, automatically reduce your speed at intersections, on and off-ramps, bridges and other places black ice is likeliest to form.
*Maintain a larger than average following distance. If you do hit a patch of black ice it is going to take you longer than normal to stop, and giving yourself more space than you usually do between yourself and the car in front of you can prevent a rear-end accident.
*When you do brake, ease onto the pedal slowly but firmly. Stomping on the brake can easily make you lose control of your car.
*If you drive a lighter vehicle, consider putting something heavy in your trunk suck as a large bag of cat litter or sand to help weigh your car down and give you more traction. The bonus of using these two materials is that if you do get stuck, they can also be removed from your trunk and spread on the ground to provide extra traction on ice.
*Living in a cold-weather climate where black ice situations are possible means that you should always have a winter survival or safety kit in your car for if you do have car trouble and have to wait it out in the cold for help. Energy bars, water, and a blanket for extra warmth are all good items to have in your car throughout the winter months just in case.
The big batch of winter wrath this week has caused a run on basic supplies at the hardware stores. So what if the shelves are empty where the salt usually sit? Grab a bag, box, jar or bottle of one of these alternative ice and snow melting supplies instead.
•Alfalfa meal - fertilizer
•Sand - absorbs sunlight and adds traction
•Water softener solt
•Bleach (highly corrosive, use sparingly)
•Sugar - like salt, it lowers the melting point
•Baking soda - it's a kind of salt!
•Concentrated isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol (kills grass)
•Epsom Salt/Magnesium Sulfate
•Ammonium sulfate - look for it in fertilizer (damages concrete)
•Calcium magnesium acetate - sold under brand names like "Quad melt" and "Premiere Ice Melter"
•Magnesium chloride - ask for it by name
•Potassium acetate - sold under "Ice Clear" (corrosive)
•Potassium chloride (damages concrete)
Salt only melts ice, by the way, it does not melt snow.
We here at DEM do not necessarily advise you to go out and buy all of these things as you might end up on a terrorist watch list, but in a pinch it's good to know there are other alternatives! (you can also use kitty litter)
I do not like powdered eggs and spam
I do not like them DEM-I-Am
I will not eat them after a flood
I would not eat them if I was stuck in mud
I will not eat them in a quake
I would not eat them, I want a steak
I would not eat them in a storm
I will not eat them in any form
That is why I have a plan
A stove, some butane and not canned ham
I have a pot, I have a pan
I have a burner, I could make some flan
Well, ok, that’s a bit of a stretch
However, some nice soup I could certainly fetch
Some pancakes, some noodles, some chili with beans
Eating lousy food in an emergency? There’s just no need.
I do so like emergency plans
Thank you, thank you DEM-I-AM!
February 28th will mark the 10 year anniversary of the 6.8 magnitude Nisqually Quake. According to the Washington Military Department, overall damage from the quake to public facilities, businesses and homes totaled between $1 billion to $4 billion according to damage estimates. Although centered in south Puget Sound, Nisqually earthquake damage was reported in as far east as Walla Walla. The Emergency Management Division (WEMD) of the Washington Military Department provided more than $150 million in assistance under the federal Stafford Act Disaster Declaration.
Overall, Washington is better prepared today for a major earthquake than in 2001. However, major challenges remain. Nisqually was not the “Big One, and based on the best and most current research, Washington could experience much larger and more damaging earthquakes.
The Washington State Seismic Safety Committee is in the middle of a three-year program called “The Resilient Washington State Initiative.” When completed, the program will outline our current resiliency to the state’s earthquake threats; identify specific goals to protect human life, property and economic recovery following an earthquake; recommend policies to the Governor / Legislature and identify performance measures to achieve those goals. For additional information about the Committee and “the Resilient Washington State Initiative,” click: http://www.emd.wa.gov/about/SeismicSafetyCommittee.shtml
Public interest in earthquakes ebbs and flows depending on major earthquake stories in the news. There is probably more awareness today around how to prepare than 10 years ago, but individuals need to take recommended actions to ensure that they and their loved ones are self sufficient for a period of time following an earthquake. Small disasters, like the severe snowstorm last November, reminds us that we often don’t take action until the last minute. But earthquakes are a no-notice event.
More information on earthquake preparedness activities is available at: http://www.emd.wa.gov/preparedness/prep_index.shtml
I was learning the intricacies of Shakespearean prose when the earthquake struck. What were you doing?
Thursday, February 24, 2011
...Snow will continue to impact SW WA throughout this evening. Snow showers are diminishing except along the I-5 Corridor from Kalama to Castle Rock. Expect showers to be spotty through the remainder of the evening elsewhere then taper off tonight as drier and even colder air moves into the region.
Bottom line: If you don't have to drive...DON'T! If you do...be careful out there!
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
With the low pressure system moving a little slower than expected, the timing of cold air and more widespread snow showers has been delayed a few hours. It now appears that snow down to the valley floor may be delayed until the 7-10 PM timeframe.
- For the Wednesday afternoon commute in the valley the precipitation will be showery in nature with some areas getting rain and snow showers at times and other areas no precipitation.
- Between 7pm and 10pm this evening, the precipitation will turn to all snow showers over most areas as colder air moves into the region. Although the precipitation character will be more showery, 1 to 2 inches of snow can be expected to the valley floor during the overnight hours.
- An additional 1 to 2 inches can be expected on Thursday. Some higher snow amounts are possible (3 to 7 inches) in higher elevation locations where the valley meets the foothills.
- Snow showers will continue until around midnight Thursday.
- On Friday and Saturday, the region will be dry, but remain under a very cold air mass with low temperatures in the single digits in the mountains and teens to lower 20s in the valley. High temperatures on Friday and Saturday will be in the 30s.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
* Timing -- some light accumulating snow will be possible in the higher elevations early Wednesday morning. Heavier snow will begin Wednesday afternoon (possibly around 2:00 in Cowlitz County) and continuing into Thursday.
* Accumulation/Snow levels - a trace up to 3 inches of snow are possible early Wednesday morning in the higher terrain.
* Two to four inches are expected later Wednesday through Thursday down to the valley floor.
* Impacts - roadways may become icy and snow covered resulting in slick driving conditions which may significantly impact commuting both Wednesday and Thursday.
Here is the latest from the weather service:
- Low elevation snow expected Wednesday into Thursday. Possibility of snow Wednesday morning (higher elevations), main snow event Wednesday evening through Thursday
- Main snow event may begin as early as Wednesday afternoon to affect afternoon/evening commute.
- Very cold overnight temperatures expected Thursday-Saturday
- High avalanche danger in Cascades
- Expect winter driving conditions Wednesday evening and Thursday
- Cold arctic air expected to stay into Friday/Saturday
DEM will update as we get more information, you can view weather alerts at NWS-Portland
Monday, February 21, 2011
- Unseasonably cold weather system approaching this week bringing the likelihood of low elevation snow.
- Transition into a colder pattern. Freezing level is currently at 1,500' to 2,000', will be lowering to valley floor by Wednesday/Wednesday evening.
- There is a potential for 3-5" on Wednesday. The most likely scenario is for 2-3".
- Weather briefings will continue as this system gets closer and we will keep you updated on the latest changes.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Experts contend that the movement is not due to volcanic activity, but that really doesn't make me feel any better about the situation.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Home owner's insurance policies typically do not cover the environmental cleanup costs that result from leaking fuel oil tanks. Sometimes those costs are substantial.
The Washington State Pollution Liability Insurance Agency (PLIA) has a program that can help with the cleanup costs - but the home owner must be registered with PLIA before any spill to the environment occurs. So, if you have an oil tank, register today!
To find out more, visit the Washington State Pollution Liability Insurance Agency website at http://www.plia.wa.gov/ or contact your State Dept of Ecology Regional Office.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
The Pacific Northwest remains under the influence of a very cold trough of low pressure that will continue to spread bands of rain and snow showers across the area through early Friday.
Some details are listed below:
• Low elevation rain and snow showers will continue through the remainder of Wednesday over northwest Oregon and southwest Washington. Snow may briefly fall to the valley floor in heavier showers.
• On Thursday morning, the atmosphere will be cold enough to support snow to the valley floor. Any precipitation falling over the region will likely fall as snow, although moisture availability will become limited over many areas as the day progresses. There is potential for a strong band of precipitation to move over the North Coast Range and Willapa Hills into the lower Columbia Region on Thursday morning, which may produce a few inches of snow accumulation.
Please monitor the weather forecast closely over the next 24 to 36 hours for an advisories or statements regarding this storm. You can visit our web page at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/pqr/ for more information.
So, in summary, it might snow Thursday morning. Please adjust accordingly.
Now Castle Rock not only boasts a giant rock, the best pizza on Earth and an illustrious graduate of their fine learning institution (me), but they have first rate flood protection. Way to go guys!
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PORTLAND HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW...WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 PM PST THIS AFTERNOON.
* TIMING...THROUGH TODAY.
* ACCUMULATION/SNOW LEVELS...EXPECT 1 TO 3 INCHES ABOVE 1000 FEET.
EXPECT UP TO 1 INCH BETWEEN ABOUT 500 AND 1000 FEET. EXPECT
LOCAL ACCUMULATIONS OF ONE HALF TO 1 INCH BELOW 500 FEET WITH
THE MAIN LIKELIHOOD THIS MORNING.
* IMPACTS...ROADS WILL BECOME LOCALLY SNOW COVERED AND ICY...
ESPECIALLY AT HIGHER ELEVATIONS.
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CAUSE PRIMARILY TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SNOW COVERED ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES...AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
Monday, February 14, 2011
The National Weather Service in Portland has issued a:
* Severe Thunderstorm Warning for... northwestern Clatsop County in northwest Oregon... northwestern Wahkiakum County in southwest Washington... southern Pacific County in southwest Washington...
* until 330 PM PST.
* At 314 PM PST... National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated a severe thunderstorm capable of producing damaging winds in excess of 60 mph. This storm was located 14 miles southwest of Warrenton... or 19 miles southwest of Astoria... and moving northeast at 60 mph.
* Other locations the severe thunderstorm will be near include...
Warrenton... Clatsop Spit... Astoria... Cape Disappointment and Ilwaco...
This is a dangerous storm. If you are in its path... prepare immediately for damaging winds... destructive hail... and deadly cloud to ground lightning. People outside should move to a shelter...preferably inside a strong building but away from windows.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
copied from Lifehacker.com
Here are some great tips from Lifehacker.com on staying productive during a power outage.
The Eastern half of the US is gearing up for a massive winter storm, and we're preparing for the worst. Here's how to stay productive during the impending Snowpocalypse.
Apart from the annoying cold and all the white fluffy stuff, the biggest potential inconveniences that go hand-in-hand with a major snowstorm include power outages or internet outages. Here's what to do if you wake up tomorrow without power or internet.
Preparing for a Power Loss
As the icy winds of Hoth blow through your town, they can destroy power lines, overload transformers, and otherwise do a whole lot of damage to the electricity grid. You don't want to wait until you wake up without power to start worrying about it though, so prepare right now with these tips.
Charge Up Your Devices the Night Beforehand
If you've got a nice supply of laptops, smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices in your house, plug them in now and let them charge up as long as you can. Avoid using them unplugged tonight so you don't forget to plug them back in overnight, and make sure they're powered off (or saving battery in sleep mode) so they don't start draining as soon as the power dies.
Charge Up Those Extra Batteries
You probably can't run out and buy extra batteries right now, but if you've got some extra ones lying around, whether they be regular batteries or extended batteries, don't forget to charge those up, too. We all know how much today's smartphones drain battery, so you'll need all the juice you can get.
Dig Out Your Old Phones
Chances are, you've got at least one or two (if not several) old phones buried in the basement. Dig out as many as you can find, and charge them up. If your smartphone dies early on in the day, you'll want other phones you can rely on—even if they're just regular feature phones. Lots of us have ditched our landlines, but if you need something in case of an emergency, that old beat up Motorola RAZR is the perfect candidate. Remember that most cellphones can still make emergency calls even if you don't pay for service, and if you can swap your SIM card from your current phone, it's easy to transfer your current service to an old device.
Get The Most Out of Your Battery Life
No matter what kind of device you have, chances are you can do some optimizing to make that battery last longer. Dim your screen, turn off Bluetooth and other non-essential apps or hardware, and put it to sleep whenever you're not using it. For more device-centric tips, check out our guides to extending the battery life of your Windows laptop, Linux laptop, an Android phone or any other smartphone. You can even eke a few more minutes out of your battery by using the right browser and turning off Flash completely.
Use Your Car as a Phone Charger When You Really Need It
It's not the ideal solution, but if your phone dies and you need one on hand for emergency calls, you can always whip out your car charger and start up your car for a few minutes of charging (you know, if your car will even start). You'll be patting yourself on the back for buying that USB car charger right about now.
Preparing for an Internet Outage
Even if your power doesn't go out, your ISP might lose service in the midst of the onslaught (it's happened to a few of us at team Lifehacker during previous storms). If they do, here are your options as far as staying connected.
Tether Your Phone
It's one of the most tried and true methods for getting wireless internet, and while it certainly won't provide a connection for the entire day, it can help you get any important work done before enjoying the rest of your snow day. If you're rocking an Android phone, you have quite a few choices, both if you've rooted and if you haven't. If you're an iPhone user and you haven't paid for tethering from AT&T, you'll have to jailbreak and use previously mentioned MyWi. Note that if you wake up without internet, you won't be able to jailbreak tomorrow—so if it's important enough to you, maybe tonight's the night to back up your phone and check out redsn0w. Also note that tethering will drain your battery like crazy, so use your internet wisely during the few precious moments you have. (That means no Facebook, you guys! It's just going to be full of the same Snowpocalypse statuses anyways).
Rent That Movie From iTunes—Just This Once—Because Netflix'll Be Down
You may forget from time to time that Netflix and other similar streaming services actually rely on a stable internet connection, so when you go to enjoy your day off tomorrow, you might be disappointed to realize you've lost your entire queue. Now would be a good time to check out iTunes' rental system, or something similar. You may not like that whole paying part, but you have to do the best you can with what you've got, right?
Check and See If You're the Only One
Just because you've lost power or internet doesn't mean everyone has. If you've got a Starbucks, McDonalds, or other Wi-Fi plentiful chain near your house, you can always head there to get some work done (you know, if you can even get out of the house). Make sure you've got a car-friendly driveway, too—if you're out of salt, there are a lot of other household items that'll melt that ice, too.
If Your Cell Service Goes Out (or Your Phone Runs Out of Juice)
If your cell goes dead, on either the battery or service side, and you lack for a fall-back landline, you've still got options—especially if your web connection is still active, or you've got another internet source.
Best option: Google Voice & Gmail calling
If you've already signed up to use Google Voice, you can make free calls from Gmail's chat sidebar. Just sign into Gmail, hit the "+" button to expand chat if it's not already expanded, and click the "Call phone" option. You may need to download a plug-in to get calling working; it might be a good move to already have it installed the night before a big storm hits.
Once the plug-in is installed, you're good to go, and if you use Android or otherwise have your Google Contacts set up, you won't even need to remember your boss' phone number. You'll be using your laptop speakers and tiny mic hole by default; it would be handy to have a USB headset handy, or at least a pair of headphones to prevent echoing and feedback.
If you aren't a Google Voice user, the best you can do is a VoIP service like Skype, which lets you call regular phones right from your computer. Of course, if your friends or relatives have Skype, you can call them for free, but if you need to call other people's regular old phones, you'll need to shell out a bit for a SkypeOut number. What's nice, though, is that you can pay as you go—so if you just need a SkypeOut number for the Snowpocalypse, you don't have to subscribe to a monthly plan or anything like that. Check out Skype's pricing plans for more information.
Accept Your Tech-Free Day as the Gift of Productivity
Computers and the internet are great tools, but they're also great distractions. If you lose your internet connection, or your power altogether, you may prefer to think of it not as a curse, but a productivity blessing. There are a lot of internet-free ways you can catch up with work, like going over your to-do list, organizing your files and folders, or even getting some real, distraction-free work done. It might even inspire you to disconnect more often.
Monday, February 7, 2011
A single disaster causes many individual emergencies at one time. Unfortunately, professional emergency response to your situation may be delayed for hours, even days if the disaster overwhelms first responders. In that instance, you and your neighbors become the first responders to your emergencies. Preparing your neighborhood is vital. Neighbors that are prepared are more effective in their response to a disaster and have an increased capacity to be self-sufficient for the first 72 hours after a disaster.
• How to develop a skills and equipment inventory for your neighborhood
• How to map your neighborhood and identify areas of concern
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
According to StormFax Almanac, Phil's winter predictions have been correct 39 percent of the time. Which, if you think about it, is actually pretty impressive since he (most likely) doesn't have a meteorological background or the use of advanced weather satellites or computers. Groundhogs, you see, have tiny little paws, thus making computer usage difficult. I'd say his average is probably on par with most local weather stations.