Emergency Management

Road Closures in Thurston County
Posted By Sheri Badger on Dec 3rd, 2007 at 11:36 AM

Tacoma, WA – December 03, 2007 – 10:30 a.m. The following Thurston County roads are closed as of 10:00 a.m. today. Many more roads may be covered with water.

  • Littlerock Road at 133rd Ave. SW
  • Smith Prairie SE at Neat Road
  • Munson Road
  • Littlerock Road at Sargent Road
  • Waddell Creek Road SW from Delphi Road to Sherman Valley
  • Delphi Road SW at Cedar Flats Road
  • Michigan Hills Road from Langworthy Road to Independence Roads
  • Tono Road is one lane only just east of Bucoda City limit
  • Cedar Flads Road from Maple Valley Road to end Thurston County

Emergency Management officials urge motorists not to drive on flooded roadways. “If you can’t see the road under the water, don’t drive it!” says Thurston County Emergency Manager Kathy Estes. Reminding morotists that drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths, Estes lists the following safety rules:

  • Don’t drive on flooded roads As little as 18 inches of water can float a small car.
  • Don’t drive around road barriers. The road or bridge may be washed out.
  • If your vehicle stalls in high water, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.
  • Don’t walk through flowing water. Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
  • Tell a friend or relative when you leave home and where you’re going.

Details on emergency preparedness are available from the Thurston County Emergency Management office at 360-754-3360 or online at www.co.thurston.wa.us/em Media Calls Only: 360-704-2764 ###

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Protect Your Health During Floods
Posted By Sheri Badger on Dec 3rd, 2007 at 11:16 AM

Tacoma, WA – December 03, 2007 – Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department cautions that flooding and subsequent power outages can result in significant health hazards.

By taking some simple precautions Pierce County residents can avoid health risks associated with contaminated drinking water, spoiled food, or mold and mildew.

Drinking Water and Flooded Wells: The Health Department recommends that anyone using water from a well in a flooded area should disinfect the water by heating it to a rolling boil for three to five minutes before drinking. Water used for brushing teeth, washing dishes, or food requires the same treatment as drinking water.

An alternative method of disinfection is to place eight drops of household liquid bleach into a gallon of water if the water is clear, or 16 drops of household liquid bleach into a gallon of water if the water is cloudy. After adding the bleach to the water, let the mixture stand for 30 minutes.

Otherwise, bottled drinking water should be purchased from a local market. Once the flooding has receded, chlorination and flushing of the well is recommended. If you decide to test your water for the presence of bacteria, use a certified laboratory to determine if the water is safe for consumption.

Anyone with questions, including managers of small or large public water systems, should call this Health Department at 253 798-6470, or Washington State Department of Health (Kent office) at 1-253 395-6750. This website contains information on How to Test Your Well ( http://www.tpchd.org/files/library/578c93f5fefb3548.pdf ).

Food Safety after Floods or Power Outages: Refrigerated foods will be safe as long as power is not out for longer than four hours. Keep the refrigerator door shut to prevent warming up the stored food.

Discard all potentially hazardous foods, such as meat, poultry, seafood, sof cheeses, milk, and cream, that warms above 41 degrees fahrenheit for more than two hours. If in doubt, throw it out! Frozen foods that have partially or completely thawed can be re-frozen if they contain ice crystals or are below 41 degrees F. Discard all foods that have been contaminated by floodwaters.

 Throw away food items in containers with screw caps, snap lids, crimped caps (soda pop bottles), twist caps, flip-top, snap-open and similar type closure that have been submerged in floodwater.

Anyone with questions about food safety can call the county’s Food Line at Cooperative Extension: 253 798-7180. Additional Food Safety ( http://www.tpchd.org/page.php?id=75 )information is available on this website.

Mold and Mildrew: Excessive mold growth can occur as a result of leaking roofs and flooded basements. This can create a health hazard, particularly for people with existing breathing problems such as asthma or those with allergies.

If you see water or suspect a leak in your home, first try to find the leak and take action to stop or minimize the leak. Next, take steps to remove any standing water or water damaged items that cannot be easily dried. Any water-damaged dry wall and insulation should also be removed and discarded as a precaution against future mold growth.

Wet carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours of becoming wet to prevent mold growth. Sewage contaminated carpet or carpet that’s been wet for more than 48 hours is generally not salvageable and should be removed and discarded.

Ventilation of flooded basements, by opening windows and using exhaust fans, will serve to speed up the drying process and improve overall air quality. Use of heaters with fans and dehumidifiers will also help things to dry sooner. Clean-up and removal of mold from hard surfaces such as concrete or wood can be accomplished by scrubbing with laundry or dishwasher detergent or use of a diluted bleach water solution (one cup of bleach in one gallon of water).

Individuals with breathing problems or allergies should not assist with mold clean-up activities and should see a health care provider if they are experiencing health issues.

For additional information on mold growth precautions and clean-up call the Health Department at 253 798-2954, or view the Mold webpage ( http://www.tpchd.org/page.php?id=159 ).

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Pierce County warns of flood dangers
Posted By Sheri Badger on Dec 3rd, 2007 at 11:05 AM

Tacoma, WA – December 03, 2007 – Pierce County Emergency Management continues to work with response agencies monitoring the impact of heavy rains and high winds in the county.

The National Weather Service predicts the heavy rains and high winds will continue throughout Monday, with the front pushing through around midnight. Urban flooding in streets is expected throughout day. All area rivers are expected to peak beyond flood stage to differing degrees some time late tonight or early Tuesday morning.

Puget Sound Energy reports no power outages in Pierce County at this time. Currently no shelters have been opened The Army Corps of Engineer is closely monitoring the level of water at Mud Mountain Dam on the White River. They anticipate releasing increasing amounts throughout the day to adjust for the level of the water in the dam. Residents in that area of the county are advised to keep tuned to their emergency radios for news of any changes.

Pierce County Emergency Management advises residents in flood-prone areas to contact their local fire station if sandbags are needed and to take steps to protect their belongings. The department also recommends that residents respect road closures, be aware of potential landslides, don’t walk or drive through flooded areas and stay away from moving water, even if it’s shallow. Most importantly please do not call 9-1-1 to report flooding unless the situation is a life-threatening emergency.

Emergency management officials encourage residents to be alert for rapid changes and monitor changing weather condition by listening to NOAA Weather Radio or other local media.

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Pierce Co. EOC Opens
Posted By Sheri Badger on Dec 3rd, 2007 at 10:43 AM

Tacoma, WA – December 03, 2007 – Pierce County Department of Emergency Management has opened their Emergency Operations Center to track progress of the regional storm now in progress. Additional information affecting Pierce County will be forthcoming.

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I-5 in Chehalis closed due to flooding for at least 36 hours
Posted By Sheri Badger on Dec 3rd, 2007 at 4:35 AM

Tacoma, WA – December 03, 2007 – OLYMPIA

Flooding on I-5 in Chehalis has forced WSDOT to close the freeway to all traffic and forecasted high winds have floating bridge crews on high alert.

I-5 will be closed from exit 88 near Grand Mound (approximately 20 miles south of Olympia) to exit 68 (11 miles south of Chehalis) due to flooding. The freeway will remain closed for at least 36 hours and likely longer while crews wait for the Chehalis River (at milepost 77-79) and Dillenbaugh Creek (at milepost 74) to recede. This is the first complete freeway closure due to flooding in this area since 1996.

I-5 detour routes include: “From the Portland area: West on Oregons I-84 then north on US 97 to Yakima and then west on I-90 to Seattle. “From the Seattle area: Seattle to Portland drivers will follow I-90 to Yakima and then south on US 97 to west on Oregons I-84 to Portland.

Other detours include US 12 over White Pass to Yakima. Commercial vehicles over 10,000 lbs. GVW are not allowed on State Route 7, from US 12 between Tacoma and Morton.

Downed trees and power lines along with mudslides and standing water have blocked lanes on several highways and isolated some communities in Pacific Coastal Areas and the Olympic Peninsula. Snow and slides have forced highway closures on I-90 and U.S. 2 in the Cascade mountains.

Continued heavy traffic is expected in the greater Seattle area tonight, particularly if the SR 520 Evergreen Point Floating Bridge must be closed to traffic due to high winds.

WSDOT crews have been working steadily, responding to problems to keep roadways safe for drivers and emergency workers. Governor Gregoire has already declared a State of Emergency and this storm isnt over yet, said Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond.

Melting snow and rising rivers will likely bring floods and force additional highway closures in the next few days. Drivers need to plan ahead and exercise caution, particularly when they see water on a roadway or crews working to clear a road.

Concerns for later today include more rain combined with high winds and a melting snow pack. Motorists should anticipate delays or closures through tomorrow. Weather and traffic conditions are changing rapidly.

For the most up- to-the-minute highway status, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/news/update and www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic. If youre on the road, have a passenger call 5-1-1 to get timely updates. The storm could also affect Washington State Ferry schedules.

WSDOT crews continue to work at all hours to help keep drivers safe and roads open. They are working with local law enforcement and utility companies to remove power lines and debris from the roadway. Many crews must suspend work at night because daylight is needed to accurately assess dangerous conditions and conduct repair work safely.

WSDOT emergency operations centers in Western Washington have been activated. What can drivers do? “Get the most up-to-date information from the WSDOT Web site (www.wsdot.wa.gov), the 511 phone line and local news media.

  • Assess the weather situation before setting out.
  • Do not attempt to drive through standing water on closed roadways.
  • Take it slow.
  • Read the overhead electronic signs and listen to WSDOT Highway Advisory Radio when you are on the road.
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