Last weekend’s hurricane-force wind gusts along the coast were a vivid reminder of the power of Mother Nature and the potential for damage from things like downed trees and power lines, flooding and landslides. Wind gusts exceeding 80 mph in some areas Sunday night resulted in thousands of Lincoln County residents losing power, and a few here and there were still without power at midweek.
Anyone who has experienced winter on the coast knows that high winds are a normal part of life, but when we’re hit with especially high winds like that, it gets most everyone’s attention. And for good reason — it’s hard to ignore things like trees across the road, fences blown over, siding ripped off, shingles coming loose and street signs bent at an angle. We saw all that and more during and after the storm.
We at the coast are certainly not the only Oregonians dealing with adverse weather. Elsewhere in the state, people have been battling freezing rain and snow, which has wreaked havoc in many areas and closed some major highways. And it continues. On Wednesday, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management issued a press release warning of severe winter weather impacts continuing. “A complex winter weather system is delivering heavy snowfall, ice and high winds to parts of the state and heavy rain and melting snow to others. The Office of Emergency Management is imploring Oregonians to avoid traveling on treacherous roads and instead stay home to stay safe and help ease the strain on the statewide response system,” the release stated.
The snow that fell in Lincoln County last week could very likely be the only white stuff we see here this year, but there was a flood watch issued for the county for Thursday and Friday this week, and we all know that with flooding comes landslides. “We have severe weather advisories, watches and warnings all over the state, including threats of flooding caused by heavy rain and snowmelt. This can trigger debris flows and landslides in steep terrain, and the risk is higher in wildfire burn scars,” OEM Director Andrew Phelps said.
The best way to prepare to deal with inclement weather is to be informed, to know when it might be better to stay home rather than venture out. Or perhaps what route(s) to avoid if you are forced to travel under hazardous conditions. And if you do have to travel, OEM advises, “Stay alert for road hazards such as flooding, downed power lines, falling trees and washed-out roads.”
It’s also a good idea to put together that emergency supply kit, if you haven’t already done so, for both the car and at home. Some county residents who found themselves without power for a day or two, or more, may be reevaluating their level of preparation about now.
Lincoln County does have a good resource when it comes to preparing for an emergency. Lincoln County Emergency Management issues Lincoln Alerts whenever there are hazardous conditions that residents should be aware of, whether it’s road closures, flooding, hazardous weather on the way or some other emergency situation. People can sign up for Lincoln Alerts by going to tinyurl.com/2p934zs3 Also, their website has links to a wealth of other information.
Here are a few online resources to help people stay informed and prepare for an emergency:
• Flood watch safety tips and resources — www.weather.gov/safety/flood
• Hazards: flooding and river levels — tinyurl.com/yckvtd3p
• Current conditions (alerts and warnings) in Lincoln County — tinyurl.com/3hpf37u7
• Power outages — poweroutage.us/area/state/oregon
We are always going to have to deal with nasty weather now and then, particularly during the winter months. And in reality, how we hold up during those challenging times depends a lot on each and every one of us. Be one of those who says, “I’m glad I prepared,” instead of “I wish I had.”