Debris in river and creek flows a dangerous thing…

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Jan 182012
 

From Oregon Dept. of Geology

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED A FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING FOR RIVERS AND CREEKS IN NORTHWEST OREGON AND SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON. HEAVY RAIN AND SNOWMELT IS CAUSING RIVERS AND CREEKS TO RISE SHARPLY. MINOR FLOODING IS POSSIBLE ON SEVERAL RIVERS, ESPECIALLY THOSE DRAINING THE NORTH AND CENTRAL OREGON COAST RANGE. NOTE THAT FLOOD WARNINGS ARE ALREADY IN EFFECT FOR THE MARYS AND LUCKIAMUTE RIVERS IN THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY.

A FLOOD WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING BASED ON CURRENT FORECASTS. LANDSLIDES AND DEBRIS FLOWS ARE POSSIBLE DURING THIS FLOOD EVENT. DEBRIS FLOWS ARE DANGEROUS, RAPIDLY MOVING LANDSLIDES. STEEP SLOPES, CANYONS, GORGES AND THE MOUTHS OF MOUNTAIN STREAMS ARE THE LOCATIONS AT GREATEST RISK. PERSONS THAT LIVE OR MAY TRAVEL THROUGH THESE LOCATIONS SHOULD BE ALERT TO THE POSSIBILITY OF DEBRIS FLOWS DURING OR SHORTLY AFTER PERIODS OF INTENSE RAINFALL. NEVER DRIVE THROUGH FLOODED AREAS. THE WATER MAY BE TOO DEEP TO ALLOW FOR SAFE PASSAGE OR THERE MAY BE UNSEEN DAMAGE TO THE ROADWAY.

Care should be taken when traveling over the mountains during this time. The most dangerous places include:
 Canyon bottoms, stream channels, and areas of rock and soil accumulation at the outlets of canyons;
 Bases of steep hillsides;
 Road cuts or other areas where slopes of hills have been excavated or over steepened;
 Places where slides or debris flows have occurred in the past.

Debris flows are rapidly moving landslides that can destroy everything in their paths. They can easily travel a mile or more, depending on the terrain. They will contain boulders and logs and transport those in a fast-moving soil and water slurry.

Some areas are more hazardous than others when the danger of landslides is high. If there is a flood warning, stay away from the river. Stay away from steep slopes during intense rainstorms. Knowing ahead of time where the danger areas around your home for potential landslides might be is the first step in being prepared.

Follow these steps:
 Stay alert. Listen to the radio, TV, or a weather radio for flood watches, which include the potential for debris flows and if told to evacuate, do so immediately;
 Listen for unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together. A trickle of falling mud or debris may precede larger landslides;
 If you think there is danger of a landslide, leave immediately;
 If water in a river or stream suddenly turns muddy or the amount of water flowing suddenly decreases or increases, this is a warning that the flow has been affected upstream. You should immediately leave the area because a debris flow may soon be coming downstream;
 Assume highways are not safe. Be alert when driving, especially at night. Don’t overdrive your headlights. Embankments along roadsides may fail, sending rock and debris onto the road;
 Landowners and road managers should check road drainage systems and conduct needed maintenance in case the predicted heavy precipitation does occur.

Cleaning up after landslides can also be hazardous. “When it is wet outside, be careful when cleaning up the mess. A small mudslide can actually be part of a larger landslide. Cleanup should not be done until after the storm.

A safety warning from Oregon State Parks and Recreation

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Jan 182012
 


Wendy Rush photo

Today’s strong winter storms along Oregon’s coast has prompted the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) to issue a safety alert for coast visitors.

“The mix of high winds and heavy rains will bring storm watchers and beachcombers to the coast later this week,” said OPRD Beach Safety Education Coordinator Robert Smith. “We want to remind them of a few tips to stay safe.”

“Sneaker waves, which are always dangerous, are magnified by winter storm surges and we recommend people storm watch from headlands and viewpoints,” Smith said. “Also, our beaches become narrower when sand is eroded away leaving little room to escape at some points. Even the most experienced beachcombers can be caught unaware unless they stay alert.”

Logs and other beach debris in the wake of a storm are always hazards, he added. “Some logs that were well above the surf line and appeared safe in the summer may be unstable after being moved by high waves. It’s especially important now to stay clear of logs.”

Coastal cliffs also can be precarious. “The power of the ocean can have a long reach,” Smith said. “The rain and wind we’re having can cause unstable conditions on cliffs overlooking the ocean. Wandering off trails for a closer look can be a bad idea.”

While no coastal state parks have completely closed due to the storm, visitors are reminded to respect any closures that do happen. Parks sometimes close beach accesses and portions of parks due to flooding or other dangerous conditions, and keep them closed until they can be inspected for erosion or other damage.

To stay up to date on road closures and park conditions, travelers should refer to ODOT‚s Tripcheck service (http://tripcheck.com and by dialing 511), and the state park information line (http://tinyurl.com/parkbreakingnews and by dialing 1-800-551-6949).

Other beach safety tips and closer looks at the dangers of sneaker waves, rolling logs and rip currents are available at www.oregonbeachsafety.org.

Highway 18 from the Valley to the Coast is shut down for the night

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Jan 182012
 

From ODOT

OR 18 (Salmon River Hwy) will remain closed overnight between six miles east of Otis and Grand Ronde (mileposts 6.5-21) due to numerous trees and debris blown down during today’s storm. Wind conditions throughout the day have created conditions unsafe for crews to remove the downed trees.

The closure is through the H.B. Van Duzer Forest State Scenic Corridor, which is a state park. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has arranged for a commercial logging company to remove the dozen, large trees that are across the highway as soon as they can safely enter and work in the closure zone.

The commercial logging firm will stage equipment this afternoon and is expected to begin clearing the trees from the highway as early as possible tomorrow if conditions don’t allow the work to begin today.

Until OR 18 is reopened, motorists traveling to and from the Oregon Coast will be directed to use OR 22 to US 101

Toledo City Council Update

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Jan 182012
 

Due to adverse weather conditions, the Toledo City Council meeting scheduled for tonight, January 18th at 7:pm, has been canceled.

Please see the attached agenda for the City Council/Staff Goal Setting Session scheduled for January 23rd from 12- noon to 5:pm at the Toledo Fire Department on Burgess Road.

For questions please contact Nancy Bryant, City Recorder at (541) 336-2247 x 211 or by email administration@cityoftoledo.org

Agenda
2012 Goal Setting
Monday, January 23, 2012
Noon – 5:00PM

Noon Opening Meeting President Grutzmacher
12:15 Citizen Comments (The public comment period provides the public with an opportunity to address the City Council regarding items not on the agenda. Please limit your comments to five (5) minutes).
12:20 Overview of Process and Meeting Objectives City Manager
12:25 City Mission confirmation and brief discussion –setting the stage for strategic direction (later in the agenda)

12:30 Lunch Break

1:00 Facilitated Goal Strategies Council/Staff
Understanding consensus – agreements about what consensus means
Focusing on Strategic Direction: What it means to be strategic as we look to planning the future of our community (Circle back to mission statement)
Last year’s goals: what did we do? What do we carry forward? What do we cross off the list?
Staff goal list for 2012
City Council goal list for 2012

1:30 Prioritizing goal strategies Council/Staff
1. Decide what goals are most important
2. Discuss how Council sees strategies moving forward and goals are being reached
3. Last thoughts and next steps

5:00 Close and Thank You!

Siletz Highway 229 back open

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Jan 182012
 

OR 229 (Siletz Hwy) is now open between mileposts 15 and 16 after trees and debris forced an earlier closure.

Yaquina Bay (Newport) Bridge Update

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Jan 182012
 


Brad Taylor photo, top
Jade Thomas photo, middle
Newport PD photo, lower middle
Brent Barth, bottom

US 101 remains closed at the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport (milepost 141) following a crash between a semi and a pickup. Reports from the scene indicate that the southbound truck was blown into the path of a northbound pickup. Injuries were minor. A bridge inspection indicates the crash did not result in any structural damage to the bridge. The bridge closure is expected to last until as late as 3 p.m. Tow trucks are now on scene but are having to wait for the winds to die down enough to make removal of the wreck done safely. There is no detour. Motorists should find an alternate route or postpone travel.

12:20 pm Highway 20 Newport to Eddyville RE-OPENED.

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Jan 182012
 

US 20 (Corvallis-Newport Hwy) is now open between Toledo and Eddyville, where trees and debris caused an earlier closure. Motorists should still use caution while traveling the highway and be alert to falling trees and debris. A traveler between Newport and Eddyville said he had clear sailing all the way to the Kings Valley turnoff.

ODOT Road Update: 11:40am

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Jan 182012
 

U.S. 26 (Sunset Highway) is closed between U.S. 101 and Staley’s Junction (OR 47) (mp 0—45) due to downed trees and power lines. No estimate for reopening.

U.S. 101 is closed at the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport (mp 141) due to a crash. No detour; plan alternate route.
OR 6 (Wilson River Highway) Debris flow warning system activated.

OR 18 (Salmon River Highway) is closed between six miles east of Otis and Grand Ronde (mp 6.5—21). No estimate on reopening.
OR 229 (Siletz Highway) is closed nine miles north of Siletz (mp 15—16) due to hazardous trees. No estimate on reopening.