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FlashAlert utilizes the free service Twitter to distribute emergency text messages. While you are welcome to register your cell phone text message address directly into the FlashAlert system, we recommend that you simply "follow" the FlashAlert account for Oregon Office of Emergency Management by clicking on the link below and logging in to (or creating) your free Twitter account. Twitter sends messages out exceptionally fast thanks to arrangements they have made with the cell phone companies.
Freezing rain, ice, high winds and blowing snow create blizzard-like conditions in the Columbia River Gorge
SALEM, OR -- January 18, 2017 -- As severe weather continues to rage across the state, Oregon's Office of Emergency Management activated the state Emergency Coordination Center (ECC). OEM staff and state emergency support representatives are gathered to assist with resource requests as communities are pummeled with ice, high winds and blowing snow.
Interstate 84 is closed between Troutdale and Hood River due to ice; the highway is also closed between Pendleton to Ontario as blowing snow creates blizzard-like conditions. OEM and the Oregon Department of Transportation urges motorists to stay off the roads.
State ECC Manager Kelly Jo Craigmiles says that the ECC is facilitating resources for affected counties, as well as areas in eastern and central Oregon. Ice, flooding concerns, sandbags and snow removal are the biggest needs at this time, although power outages, landslides and avalanches are also a concern.
Numerous weather advisories and warnings (https://alerts.weather.gov/cap/or.php?x=1) are in place in all parts of Oregon, including:
- Ice storm warning for the east Columbia Gorge;
- Winter storm warning in the south central Oregon Cascades, the Siskiyou Mountains and Southern Oregon Cascades;
- Flood advisory in Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Deschutes, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington and Yamhill counties;
- Flood watch for central coast range of western Oregon, central Oregon coast; central Willamette Valley, Coast Range of Northwest Oregon, the greater Portland-metro area and the North Oregon Coast.
In addition, wind advisories are in effect in the Grande Ronde Valley and foothills of the Northern Blue Mountains, with gusts reaching 75-85 miles per hour.
OEM encourages residents to stay informed. Watch local news, listen to local radio and use smartphone apps to receive up-to-date weather information. Sign up for local text alerts. Be 2 Weeks Ready (https://www.facebook.com/2WeeksReady/), have a communications plan and be prepared for power outages.
* Check that emergency kits are stocked and readily accessible with flashlight(s), radio, batteries, food, water and blankets/extra clothes.
* If you are using a generator, understand the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to use generators safely (http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/power-outage/safe-generator-use).
* Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
* Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics. Turn off or disconnect any appliances, equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
* Leave one light turned on so you'll know when the power comes back on.
* Check on family and neighbors to see if they are in need of support
Individuals who are vision impaired, hearing impaired or mobility impaired should take additional steps to prepare for disasters:
* Ensure all assistive technology, communication devices and other power-dependent medical equipment is fully charged so that these devices are useable in the event of a power outage.
* Call personal care attendants, dialysis and oxygen providers to identify support plans and/or make plans to stay with friends or family members in the event of a power outage.
* Write out an emergency information card, including any medications, allergies, sensory or mobility impairments, equipment you need and emergency contact numbers.
* If you live in an assisted living facility, find out what its emergency plans are.
* If you're mobility impaired, identify two accessible escape routes.
* Write an information card which includes the best way to communicate with you or move you if necessary.
* If you must leave the house, have an emergency kit with essential medications, and extra food and water. If you have a service animal, make the kit has supplies for them as well.
* If you must leave the house, have an emergency kit with essential medications and some extra food and water. If you have a service animal, make the kit has supplies for them as well.
* Protect your service animal's feet: use boots or clean them off once you get inside.
In an emergency situation, contact 9-1-1.
About Oregon Office of Emergency Management:
Our mission is to lead statewide efforts to develop and enhance preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation capabilities to protect the lives, property and environment of the whole community.
Oregon's Office of Emergency Management says it's a good time to be 2 Weeks Ready
and adhere to basic flood safety.
January 16, 2017 -- Salem, OR -- Heavy rains are forecasted for the northern Oregon coast and the Willamette Valley, high winds are expected on the northern coast and freezing rain/ice is expected in the Columbia Gorge. A flood watch is in effect for all of Northwest Oregon. This is a good time to check your emergency supplies and adhere to basic flood safety.
Preparing for a flood
Have an emergency kit with necessary supplies. Oregon Office of Emergency Management recommends being 2 Weeks Ready http://bit.ly/2dxylmA.
Clear out leaves or remaining ice/snow from storm drains and culverts to prevent localized flooding.
During a flood: Turn Around, Don't Drown.
Six inches of moving water can knock over an adult and 12 inches can carry away a small vehicle. Many flood-related fatalities are caused by vehicles driven into hazardous waters. Move to higher ground.
Heavy rains reduce drivers' visibility. When driving, turn on your lights, increase following distance, slow down, and watch for bicyclists and pedestrians. Follow the Oregon Department of Transportation tips for driving in the rain:
- Give yourself more time for heavy traffic.
- Keep a safe distance between you and the driver in front of you.
- Make sure your windshield wipers in are good working condition.
- Roads are slippery when wet; obey the speed limit and drive slower in the rain.
- Turn on headlights.
If you are in your vehicle and floodwater is blocking your evacuation route, go to a building on high ground. If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, stay in the vehicle. If water is rising inside the vehicle, seek refuge on the roof.
Avoid walking through flood waters; they may be contaminated with oil, gas, or raw sewage. Waters may also be hiding hazards and debris. If you have to walk in flood waters, wear sturdy shoes. Sharp objects can penetrate rubber boots.
Be sure to check on neighbors and seniors in your area to make sure they are not in need.
In addition to flood concerns, areas in Northwest Oregon - particularly the Columbia Gorge -- are expected to have freezing rain and an accumulation of ice. This may result in downed trees and power outages. Be prepared and have a safe heat source available, flashlights/batteries and a radio to keep abreast of weather conditions.