Editorial: Keeping ahead of the storm

January 25, 2012

News alert:

School children in Hood River County went home early Tuesday because of snowfall.

Check Infoflash or call the school district information line at 541-386-2511 for Wednesday's school schedule, which will be determined overnight.

www.hoodrivernews.com will also carry updates.

To no one's surprise, it was snowing again Tuesday morning.

Five inches of new snow was predicted for Tuesday, and that appeared to be coming true.

Brace yourself for another round of bad weather.

Power outages, wrecks, extensive disruptions to schools, homes and businesses have been par for the course of late.

From Cascade Locks to Hood River to Parkdale, kudos to fire volunteers, utility and public works employees and others who have worked long, long hours to get things repaired and running, and keep them that way. In Cascade Locks, volunteers and city staff literally went door to door to keep the community informed during that town's outage.

"Slammed" is how one firefighter described the effect on volunteers and power crews (the groups work hand in hand) in the upper valley, where untold numbers of trees were knocked down, often taking power lines with them.

In Hood River, vigilant city public works and tree service crews prevented a serious landslide from knocking out the water line, and another under construction, which would have had disastrous effects for the entire community.

People are learning, or re-learning, what to do to respond effectively and stay ahead of the storm. This points to the prudent move by the school district to send kids home early; "The safety of our kids is the paramount concern,"' said Supt. Charlie Beck, who received a frank assessment from community public works partners that the new snowfall on roads looked tough to manage.

What can each of us do to prepare? As Cascade Locks City Council Member Jeff Helfrich said in looking back at last week's storm and power outage:

"We were thinking long-term, as in more than 24 hours. This emphasizes what the government says, have a 72-hour source available."

That means enough water, food, blankets and batteries or alternative heating and lighting sources to serve everyone in the household. It may be too late to rush out and prepare these things for the midweek storm, but it's helpful to keep in mind not just for snow events but any natural disaster.

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