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.