National Weather Service 1:15pm Tuesday, December 9th:
NWS has issued a flood watch for the Chehalis River near Centralia among other Western Washington rivers. The first of several heavy rain storms has passed and river levels are rising. The second rain storm is expected Tuesday night and should produce heavy rain over Western Washington. All ARES team members are encouraged to monitor Lewis County and Centralia river gauges on the Centralia EOC website.
Remember: PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…
A FLOOD WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR FLOODING BUT
FLOODING IS NOT IMMINENT OR OCCURRING. MONITOR THE LATEST
FORECASTS FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND BE READY TO ACT
QUICKLY IF FLOODING IS OBSERVED OR A WARNING IS ISSUED.
Dividing first aid supplies into easily recognizable mod-ules can make reaching for a necessary item quick and easy. Try not to stuff your first aid kit with 50 band aids or 20 4″x4″ bandages. Instead, make your kit smaller and com-pact using perhaps 4 or 6 bandages then after you do use an item, replace it as soon as possible.
Three first aid modules, the fire starter kit, the blister kit and the medication pack, were introduced at our last ARES meeting.
The fire starter kit contains four different ways to start a fire plus two items to enhance fire starting in wet, windy conditions – all in a 41/2″x71/2″ waterproof box.
The blister kit includes supplies to treat hotspots, as well as small and large blisters.
The medication pack has seven common over the counter medicines de-signed to provide temporary relief for anything from a cold with sore throat to pain, allergies and even diarrhea.
Both the blister kit and the medication pack fit nicely into 4″x6″ baggies which makes each kit convenient to stuff into a pocket or purse if neces-sary. The blister kit and the medication kit are part of a larger and more comprehensive Go-Bag first aid kit. Breaking the first aid kit down into smaller modules allows for easier storage and quicker identification of needed supplies. These kits came from the creative mind of David, a You Tube video mas-ter and we thank him for allowing us to experiment with his excellent products. You can find more about his fabulous kits on YouTube. Just do a search for videos from “USNERDOC”.
At approximately 9:03am Sunday, the NOAA Weather Alert System radios in Southwest Washington began going off with a rare Tornado warning. While Tornados are not often seen here, this fall has seen a dramatic increase in strikes, especially along the southwest Washington coast.
Locally, we were experiencing a severe thunder and lightening storm with heavy rain – also somewhat rare for our area. Rain we get – thunder and lightening are rare.
The Tornado alert lasted approximately 45 minutes. During a second warning, the possible strike area was narrowed down to Pacific and Wahkiakum Counties but the storm was moving to the east at 30 mph. SKYWARN weather spotters were asked to provide “boots on the ground” information. Warnings were issued by Centralia ARES to disconnect any electrical equipment and amateur radio equipment.
At 10:20am with the storm mostly passed to the east, Centralia ARES conducted an activation drill using the MyStateUSA notification system as well as the regular email system to notify team members to come up on the air at 10:30am using the K7CEM repeater.
As with any unannounced drill, only a few team members were able to respond – especially with the 10 minute time period given for activation. Those that were able to participate were checked into the activation net and asked three questions: (1) What were your local weather conditions at the height of the storm, (2) what precautionary steps did you take to safeguard your homes and equipment and (3) could you deploy for an actual activation at that time had you been needed.
It was great to hear that most had given some thought to being safe, disconnecting their electrical and radio equipment and even checking to be sure their go-bags were handy. While no actual damage occurred in our area, other than a good drenching, this turned out to be an excellent test of our preparedness systems. Thanks to everyone who participated.
Bob Willey, kd7own, Centralia ARES Emergency Coordinator
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Centralia Emergency Operations Center Callsign: K7CEM
Contact information: EC Bob Willey at firstname.lastname@example.org