PO Box 101 ~ 300 Memorial Drive, South Bend, WA 98586
(360) 875-9340 Office ~ (360) 875-9341 EOC ~ (360) 875-9342 Fax

Friday, December 19, 2014

National Weather Service Forecasting Significant Rainfall Totals, High Surf, and Unusually High Tides

South Bend, Washington – The National Weather Service in Portland has issued a flood watch for Pacific County effective from Saturday afternoon through Monday. The weather service forecasters are calling for a “classic atmospheric river” over southwest Washington beginning tomorrow and continuing through 4:00 a.m. Monday morning, with weekend rainfall totals that could reach as high as 6 inches on the coast and 12 inches in the Willapa Hills. A High Surf Advisory is also in effect until 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.

In addition, the coastal areas of Pacific County will also be experiencing a series of higher than normal astronomical tides that, when combined with the high rainfall totals may lead to an increased risk of tidal overflow (flooding caused by an abnormally high tide). High tide, in Raymond, will be at 11:33 a.m. on Saturday, 12:16 p.m. on Sunday, and 1:00 p.m. on Monday. 

The Pacific County Emergency Management Agency urges everyone to monitor the weather forecast and be alert for potential flooding throughout the weekend. Care should also be exercised by clam diggers taking advantage of this weekend’s clam tides. Waves will run further on the beach than normal and “sneaker” waves can be expected. Do not turn your back to the ocean, and exercise extreme caution.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Community Tsunami Inundation Forums Postponed

South Bend, Washington –Due to the High Wind Warning issued by the National Weather Service, and anticipated strength of the storm system forecast for Pacific County, the Pacific County Emergency Management Agency has postponed the Community Tsunami Inundation Forums previously scheduled for tomorrow.

The Community Tsunami Inundation Forums have been re-scheduled for Friday January 9th, from 2:00 p.m. until 4: p.m. at the Chautauqua Lodge 304 14th Street North in Long Beach, and 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at Pacific County Fire District #1 26109 Ridge Avenue in Ocean Park. 

The forecast storm may cause tree damage, and may result in power disruptions.  A high wind warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage. 

NWS Issues High Wind Warning for Thursday

South Bend, Washington –The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning in effect from 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, December 11, 2014 until 10:00 p.m. tomorrow for the South Washington Coast. South wind gusts of 70 to 80 mph are forecast for coastal communities, with gusts 80 to 90 mph forecast for the beaches and headlands.  Winds are anticipated to increase rapidly during the late morning and early afternoon Thursday.

The winds may produce significant property damage to structures, as well as, other wind damage that might lead to power disruptions and travel difficulties, especially for large trucks and trailers and other high profile vehicles. Caution should be exercised at all times. This is the third and strongest storm of the three forecast to affect the Pacific County area this week.

A graphic of the forecast winds and timing follows:



Precautionary/Preparedness Actions: 

These winds will may cause tree damage, and may result in power disruptions.  A high wind warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

NWS Issues High Wind Warning for Wednesday

South Bend, Washington –The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning in effect from 1:00 a.m. tomorrow, December 10, 2014 until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow for the South Washington Coast. South wind gusts of 55 to 65 mph are forecast for coastal communities, with gusts 65-75 mph forecast for the beaches and headlands.  Winds are anticipated to be the strongest between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.  Wednesday. The winds may produce minor damage to structures, as well as, local wind damage that might lead to power disruptions and travel difficulties. Caution should be exercised at all times.

Precautionary/Preparedness Actions:

These winds will possibly cause tree damage, and may result in power disruptions.  A high wind warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage.

Monday, December 8, 2014

NWS Issues High Wind Warning to Start Active Weather Week

South Bend, Washington – The National Weather has issued a series of warnings and watches for Pacific County.

Today Through Noon Tuesday
The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning in effect from 8:00 p.m. today to noon tomorrow for the South Washington Coast. South winds of 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 60 mph are forecast for the beaches and headlands. The forecast for coastal communities is for south winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 50 mph. Winds will begin increasing late this evening and overnight. The winds may produce local wind damage that might lead to power disruptions and travel difficulties. Caution should be exercised at all times.

Tuesday Evening Through Wednesday
A High Wind Watch has been issued from Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning for south wind 30-40 mph with local gusts to 75 mph on the coast, as well as, the Willapa Hills. A High Wind Watch means that there is potential for a hazardous high wind event.

Off Shore Wind Watch
In addition the National Weather Service has issued a watch for 10 nautical miles off the Washington Coast for possible hurricane force winds. This watch is for offshore areas only.

Precautionary/Preparedness Actions:

These winds will possibly cause tree damage, and may result in power disruptions.  A high wind warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Stay Connected with PCEMA

South Bend, Washington – On Sunday morning November 23rd, the National Weather Service issued a rare Tornado Warning. More than a week has gone by and the Pacific County Emergency Management Agency is still answering questions on behalf of residents who want to make sure they are prepared and notified when the next event happens. Here are some ways you can ensure you receive all the latest notifications.

·        Like the PCEMA Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pcema to follow frequent emergency management and preparedness dialogue.
·        Follow @PCEOCNews on Twitter to get updates from the Pacific County EOC when activated. If you are not signed up for Twitter, you can receive the same information via text message. Just text “follow PCEOCNews” to 40404.
·        Follow @PacificCountyEM on Twitter to get updates from Pacific County Emergency Management Deputy Director Scott McDougall
·        Receive the latest emergency management information, hazardous weather notices, and monthly newsletter by signing up for the PCEMA email list. Provide your name and email to sfritts@co.pacific.wa.us or smcdougall@co.pacific.wa.us and include the word “Subscribe” in the subject line.
·        Read the latest emergency management information on the PCEMA blog at www.pcema.blogspot.com.
·        Visit the PCEMA website at www.co.pacific.wa.us/pcema for valuable preparedness materials and to learn about hazards prone to Pacific County.
·        Register your wireless and/or VoIP phone numbers with the Pacific County Emergency Notification System by visiting http://co.pacific.wa.us/pcema/EmergNotifcation.htm. The system is already programmed with landline phone numbers from phone company records.

Please feel free to contact the PCEMA office at 360-875-9340 with any questions or comments.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Tornado Warning Response



 Pacific County Emergency Management Agency
After Action Report
Severe Thunderstorm and Subsequent Tornado Warning
November 23, 2014 8:52-10:15 a.m.

Summary

On Sunday November 23rd at 8:52 a.m., the National Weather Service issued a Special Weather Statement warning of a strong thunderstorm over the Long Beach Peninsula and the Northern Oregon Coast. This statement was followed by a Tornado Warning from the National Weather Service at 9:01 am. The area under warning included The City of Long Beach, Seaview, and the City of Ilwaco. Immediately upon receipt of the warning PCEMA/PACCOM Director Stephanie Fritts contacted Pacific County Dispatch to confirm that they had received the information and to confirm the accuracy of the information. She then had Pacific County Dispatch broadcast the information to all on duty law enforcement personnel and tone-alert and broadcast to all on and off-duty fire and EMS personnel and stations.  Sheriff Johnson was also notified. At 9:02 a.m., PCEMA Deputy Director Scott McDougall made contact with Director Fritts and was assigned the task of posting the warning to Social Media.  At 9:05 a.m. a pre-planned, automatic telephone and email warning was sent via the county’s emergency notification system to all residents in the immediate warning boundaries (see attached maps). 760 of 762 messages were successfully delivered.  The Facebook posting of this event was also quickly viewed by 900 individuals.

At 9:22 a.m. a second Tornado Warning was issued for the Naselle area, and the warning for the Long Beach area was allowed to expire at 9:30 a.m. Deputy Director McDougall was in the South Bend EOC at 9:24 a.m. and in communication with Director Fritts.  At 9:35 a.m., a pre-planned emergency notification campaign was initiated in the Naselle area, and 56 of 58 messages were successfully delivered.  At 9:40 a.m., PACCOM was informed that the thunderstorm that had prompted the warning had weakened and moved out of the area and would be allowed to expire at 9:45.  That information was immediately broadcast by PACCOM to all of law enforcement and fire and EMS agencies.

The severe thunderstorm that passed through the area, did not generate a tornado.  There were reports of very large hail in the Naselle area, and at this time there has been no reported damage as a result of this event.

Strengths

1.     Response from PCEMA and PACCOM was immediate and information was disseminated quickly and efficiently.  Messaging about the event was received on a broad scale.
2.     Excellent Communication between the Director and Deputy Director of PCEMA, as well as between the Director and PACCOM staff.  Although it proved unnecessary the EOC was staffed and ready to begin standing up in less than 30 minutes.
3.     The preplanned messages from Hyper-Reach worked well, and the public received notifications on many redundant levels.
4.     NOAA Weather Radios proved to be an excellent mechanism for indoor resident notification. 


Opportunities for Improvement

1.     Pacific County will have the capability of activating AHAB Sirens locally by the end of February. Discussion is needed to determine the best use of those sirens during short-notice events. Should they be used only in the affected areas or should all county sirens be activated?
2.     A policy should be developed for Emergency Alert System Broadcasts. Are those best issued by local authorities when the window of opportunity is so small?
3.     Hazard Awareness improvements should be made. The “normal” hazards are not the only hazards that the county faces. Preparedness needs to All Hazard based, Tornado warnings are unusual, but preparedness must run the gamut.

In order to address the opportunities for improvement PCEMA will be improving and developing procedures so that the items identified can be addressed. It is important to emphasize that the overall event went well and that the After Action items are opportunities to further enhance safety for the residents of Pacific County.

Chronology of Events

8:52           NWS Special Weather Statement regarding a strong thunderstorm over the Long Beach Peninsula.
8:55           Facebook post by Stephanie Fritts regarding the thunderstorm.
9:01           NWS Tornado Warning due to a severe thunderstorm, areas within the warning include Long Beach, Seaview and Ilwaco warning expires at 09:30. Information confirmed by Stephanie Fritts via PACCOM.
9:02           Phone call by Scott McDougall to Stephanie Fritts for instructions.
9:04           On Duty Law Enforcement personnel notified by radio broadcast.
9:05           Hyper-Reach Notification Campaign begins for Long Beach Peninsula within the warning boundaries. Message was successfully delivered to 760 of 762 destinations.
9:07           Fire and EMS agencies notified by tone alert and broadcast.
9:07           Facebook post by Scott McDougall regarding the tornado warning
9:22           NWS Tornado Warning due to a severe thunderstorm, areas within the warning include Naselle and SR 4 as well as Wahkiakum County. Warning expires at 09:45
9:24          Scott McDougall in the Pacific County EOC, ready to stand up EOC if situation warrants.
9:26          Sheriff Johnson in the car, Ditches on both sides of SR 4 full, but not over the road. Very large hail that was physically painful to be exposed to.
9:35           Hyper-Reach Notification Campaign begins for Naselle. Message was successfully delivered to 56 of 58 destinations.
9:40           NWS Statement indicates the storm had weakened and moved out of the area.
9:41           Information regarding the storm weakening and moving out of the area broacast to Fire/EMS/Law by PACCOM.
9:48           Message that the Tornado Warning was allowed to expire, posted to Facebook by Scott McDougall
9:50           Continued event monitoring and communications between Stephanie Fritts and Scott McDougall as well as Sheriff Johnson
10:15         Scott McDougall out of the EOC.


Long Beach and Ilwaco Notification Calling Area:




Naselle Notification Calling Area:









Friday, November 21, 2014

NWS Issues High Wind Warning

South Bend, Washington – The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning in effect from noon today to 7:00 pm this evening for the South Washington and Northern Oregon Coast.
South Winds of 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 60 mph are forecast for the beaches and headlands. The forecast for coastal communities is for South winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 45 mph. Winds will begin increasing late this morning and afternoon. The strongest winds are expected mid to late afternoon.

Precautionary/Preparedness Actions:

These winds will possibly cause tree damage, and may result in power disruptions.  A high wind warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage.

Please visit the NWS website at http://www.weather.gov/portland for the most up to date weather information. This page brings up all advisories, watches, and warnings for the Southwest Washington area.