Flood Watch issued for Western Washington

The National Weather Service in Seattle has issued a Flood Watch to include portions of Western Washington including Grays Harbor County from late tonight through Wednesday afternoon.

The Grays Harbor County Emergency Management Agency reports  heavy rainfall amounts of 5 to 8 inches are possible tonight into early Wednesday along the Southwestern and Western Olympics. This amount of rainfall could cause the Quinault, Clearwater, Bogachiel, Hoh, and other rivers flowing off the Olympics to flood late tonight Into Wednesday.

A Flood Watch means conditions are favorable for flooding but flooding is NOT imminent or occurring.

FEMA Honors Achievement in Community Preparedness to the Ocosta School District Community

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced the winners of the 2014 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Awards, recognizing the outstanding efforts of individuals, programs and organizations throughout the country working to prepare their communities for emergencies.

The community of the Ocosta School District was recognized with an Honorable Mention in the Community Preparedness Heroes category – “In recognition of your service to the whole community, the Federal Emergency Management Agency hereby awards you an honorable mention in the 2014 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards.”

“Strong emergency management requires teamwork, community engagement, innovation and strong relationships at all levels before disasters occur,” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said. “This year, we recognize individuals and organizations that exemplify this approach, and I congratulate them on their dedication to make our nation stronger and safer.”

This year’s honorees developed and implemented innovative tools, programs and resources, which provided opportunities for a wide variety of stakeholders to make their communities better prepared and more resilient.

 

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The community of the Ocosta School District, encompassing the entire South Beach area of Grays Harbor County and Pacific County, should be proud of their vision and accomplishment to build the first Tsunami Engineered Safe Haven Building in North America, the Ocosta Elementary School. This historic achievement is a testament to every community member. The new elementary school will stand as a beacon for all communities, large and small, showing what determination, perseverance, compassion and pure grit can accomplish. This could never have been realized without the overwhelming support, effort and foresight of every community member. Congratulations to each and every one of you! – Chuck Wallace, Deputy Director of the Grays Harbor County Emergency Management Agency

Fireworks safety from the Grays Harbor County Emergency Management Agency

During this Fourth of July holiday, Grays Harbor County Emergency Management is

asking all beach visitors to remain vigilant and remind others to:

 

1)    Keep all beach campfires (where permitted),  at least 100 feet from the dunes. Please extinguish all campfires when you leave the beach.

2)    If discharging fireworks along the beaches, remember to move closer to the water and point towards the ocean.

3)    Use extreme caution when discharging fireworks around other people, pets and children.

4)    DO NOT drink adult beverages and discharge fireworks. Numerous injuries occur each year linking alcohol consumption and discharging fireworks.

5)    Please DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE. Designate a driver to transport everyone home safely from your holiday activities.

6)    Please be courteous and remove your debris when you leave the beach. Soak all fireworks debris in water and dispose of it properly. DO NOT put fireworks debris in your car or in trash receptacles unless it has been thoroughly soaked in water.

Meeting tonight to detail the nation’s first tsunami vertical-evacuation structure being built in Ocosta

The Ocosta School District will release plans tonight for the nation’s first vertical-evacuation refuge. Contractors are presenting designs and floor plans for the new Elementary School, Chuck Wallace with the Grays Harbor County Emergency Management Agency said recently; “They’re building the vertical evacuation aspect to their new elementary school and that’s the first one in the country. They’re getting a tremendous amount of attention and I believe that once it is built they are going to get a lot more attention.
Proposed
Several project leads will be available Thursday night with information, School Superintendent Dr. Paula Akerlund tells us Brian Ho and Brian Fitzgerald from TCF Architects in Tacoma will provide information on the design and floor plan of the new school, including the tsunami vertical evacuation structure.
Cale Ash, structural engineer on the project, will furnish details about the engineering of the vertical evacuation structure.
Doug Nichols, project manager from Construction Services Group, will provide information on the construction timeline and budget.
The meeting starts at 6:30 Thursday night in the elementary school’s multi purpose room.

Japanese Earthquake & Tsunami Anniversary – The Impact Continues 3 Years Later

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to boost rebuilding efforts as the country marked the third anniversary Tuesday of a devastating earthquake and tsunami that left nearly 19,000 people dead, destroyed coastal communities and triggered a nuclear crisis.

Tuesday March 11, 2014 marks the 3rd anniversary of the Japanese earthquake & tsunami. Today, Japan is still searching for answers on what to do with the evacuees and the climbing rates of suicide of those affected. Chuck Wallace with the Grays Harbor County Emergency Management Agency says this event COULD happen here. The impacts are unimaginable and ongoing. If the most prepared country in the world still suffers from the tsunami after 3 years, how much of an impact would it present to the U.S.?

Please read the following article from the Japan Times.

http://www.co.grays-harbor.wa.us/info/DEM/PressReleaseDetail.asp?RlseDate=3%2F10%2F2014

As survivors gather to pray for the souls of their relatives and friends at memorial services, some communities have chosen to commemorate the event in advance to avoid the media attention. – Kyodo, Staff Report       March 10, 2014

Japanese Tsunami, 3 Years later
Photo courtesy ABC News, Video available at link

 

Grays harbor AHAB sirens triggered, false alarm Tuesday

The Grays Harbor County Emergency Management Agency reports technicians working on the All Hazard Alert Broadcast system accidentally triggered the monthly test. Deputy Director Chuck Wallace tells us they plan to trigger another test, consisting of the Westminster Chimes and a brief voice message, this coming Monday at noon.

“This morning, Tuesday, Jan 7th @10:30am an AHAB test was activated by accident, while equipment testing was taking place at the county Emergency Operations Center.”

 

Chehalis River Receding, Landslides Still a Concern

MONTESANO, Wash. – The Chehalis River has reached it’s flood stage at Porter, and is expected to recede by 2 this afternoon. Chuck Wallace with the Grays Harbor County Emergency Management Agency tells us High tidal levels in Aberdeen will worsen flooding along the lower reaches of the Chehalis, with a high tide in Aberdeen Expected at 7:53 this morning we may still see some flooding in Aberdeen this morning.
Also still a concern is the likelihood of landslides. There have been several reports of Western Washington incidents, as well as one in Grays Harbor County. Wallace says areas of most concern are steep coastal bluffs and hillsides.

Road Closures and Landslide Warning Signs

MONTESANO, Wash. – The Grays Harbor County Emergency Management Agency verifies road conditions prior to listing them as “reopened” so please be aware that this list may be updated/outdated at any time. Do NOT drive through water over a roadway.

 

To view a complete list of roads closed in Grays Harbor County, please visit:

http://www.co.grays-harbor.wa.us/info/DEM/RoadClosures.asp

 

 

Landslide Warning Signs  (from the USGS)

  • Springs, seeps, or saturated ground in areas that have not typically been wet before.
  • New cracks or unusual bulges in the ground, street pavements or sidewalks.
  • Soil moving away from foundations.
  • Ancillary structures such as decks and patios tilting and/or moving relative to the main house.
  • Tilting or cracking of concrete floors and foundations.
  • Broken water lines and other underground utilities.
  • Leaning telephone poles, trees, retaining walls or fences.
  • Offset fence lines.
  • Sunken or down-dropped road beds.
  • Rapid increase in creek water levels, possibly accompanied by increased turbidity (soil content).
  • Sudden decrease in creek water levels though rain is still falling or just recently stopped.
  • Sticking doors and windows, and visible open spaces indicating jambs and frames out of plumb.
  • A faint rumbling sound that increases in volume is noticeable as the landslide nears.
  • Unusual sounds, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together, might indicate moving debris.

Areas that are generally prone to landslide hazards

  • On existing old landslides.
  • On or at the base of slopes.
  • In or at the base of minor drainage hollows.
  • At the base or top of an old fill slope.
  • At the base or top of a steep cut slope.
  • Developed hillsides where leach field septic systems are used.

Areas that are typically considered safe from landslides

  • On hard, non-jointed bedrock that has not moved in the past.
  • On relatively flat-lying areas away from sudden changes in slope angle.
  • At the top or along the nose of ridges, set back from the tops of slopes.

Landslide Warning Signs  (from the USGS)

·         Springs, seeps, or saturated ground in areas that have not typically been wet before.

·         New cracks or unusual bulges in the ground, street pavements or sidewalks.

·         Soil moving away from foundations.

·         Ancillary structures such as decks and patios tilting and/or moving relative to the main house.

·         Tilting or cracking of concrete floors and foundations.

·         Broken water lines and other underground utilities.

·         Leaning telephone poles, trees, retaining walls or fences.

·         Offset fence lines.

·         Sunken or down-dropped road beds.

·         Rapid increase in creek water levels, possibly accompanied by increased turbidity (soil content).

·         Sudden decrease in creek water levels though rain is still falling or just recently stopped.

·         Sticking doors and windows, and visible open spaces indicating jambs and frames out of plumb.

·         A faint rumbling sound that increases in volume is noticeable as the landslide nears.

·         Unusual sounds, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together, might indicate moving debris.

Areas that are generally prone to landslide hazards

·         On existing old landslides.

·         On or at the base of slopes.

·         In or at the base of minor drainage hollows.

·         At the base or top of an old fill slope.

·         At the base or top of a steep cut slope.

·         Developed hillsides where leach field septic systems are used.

Areas that are typically considered safe from landslides

·         On hard, non-jointed bedrock that has not moved in the past.

·         On relatively flat-lying areas away from sudden changes in slope angle.

·         At the top or along the nose of ridges, set back from the tops of slopes.