Local EFR responders reflect on the Oso slide

April 8, 2014

Two of our awesome Eastside Fire & Rescue workers each have just spent more than a week helping others responders from Snohomish County at the disastrous Oso mudslide.

Capt. Steve Westlake, Station 72, worked as the command staff chief of operations. Josie Williams, public information officer and education officer, managed the Joint Information Center. These are some of their reflections. — Greg Farrar

Greg Farrar Press photographer

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

“Spending nine full days working 16-hour shifts makes you appreciate the term teamwork, the only way you are able to accomplish goals, work through situations and problems, and support each other each day.

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Crews gird for snow removal before flakes start to fall

November 27, 2012

The mercury dips a little lower as November turns to December, winter starts in mere weeks, and the agencies responsible for ensuring roads remain passable in ice and snow readied removal plans for the months ahead.

Issaquah, King County and the state prepare detailed ice and snow response plans long before the flakes start to fall. The agencies face challenges in Issaquah and the surrounding area due to steep terrain, narrow roads and limited funding.

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Hazardous conditions impacted response to January storms

March 6, 2012

The battle against the elements created dangerous conditions for city crews during a snowstorm and a rare ice storm in January, officials said in a recent update on response to the storms.

City crews scrambled to keep pace as the storms battered Issaquah and the region. Sometimes, limbs crashed onto city streets mere moments after a snowplow scraped snow and ice from the surface.

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Hazardous conditions impacted response to January storms

March 5, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. March 5, 2012

The battle against the elements created dangerous conditions for city crews during a snowstorm and a rare ice storm in January, officials said in a recent update on response to the storms.

City crews scrambled to keep pace as the storms battered Issaquah and the region. Sometimes, limbs crashed onto city streets mere moments after a snowplow scraped snow and ice from the surface.

“You’d clear a road, you’d come back down and you’d have to clear your way back out the same road,” Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director, said in a Feb. 28 briefing to the City Council. “Or you’d clear a road and you’d get a call from somebody else in the snowplow that said, ‘I thought you cleared this road.’ The answer is, well, we did. We were just there, but those trees were coming down so fast and frequent that it was impossible for awhile to stay on top of that.”

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Cleanup from storms could last for weeks in Issaquah

January 31, 2012

Terry Hillier, a Capella Drive Northwest resident, unloads branches from his station wagon Jan. 28 at Tibbetts Valley Park. By Greg Farrar

In the days after snow and ice hobbled Issaquah and the region, crews deployed across the city to collect sand from streets and downed trees from neighborhoods.

The recovery effort lurched into gear before snow and ice melted, but city residents and officials continue a daunting task to clean up from the recent storms and prepare for possible conditions in the months ahead.

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Cleanup continues after snowstorm and ice cause havoc

January 24, 2012

State Route 900 remains barricaded at midafternoon Jan. 20 to motorists wanting to go southbound past Northwest Talus Drive, a day after a downed tree blocked access to the urban village. By Greg Farrar

In the days after a snowstorm pummeled the region, blackout chased whiteout, as residents uneasy about thorny commutes and missed meetings instead confronted sinking temperatures and toppling trees — all sans electricity.

The major snowstorm dropped 3 to 6 inches across the Issaquah area Jan. 18, but the struggle started the next day, as a rare ice storm led to widespread power outages and caused trees to send ice- and snow-laden branches earthward.

The harsh conditions tested road crews, prompted spinouts and fender benders around the region, and led officials to cancel school for almost a week.

“It was like a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 punch,” Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director, said Jan. 23, as cleanup efforts continued. “For awhile there, I wasn’t sure if we were ever going to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

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Tree cleanup is latest headache for storm-weary residents

January 24, 2012

Fallen tree branches, scattered across the landscape like so many broken Lincoln Logs, continue to bedevil road crews and residents days after a major snowstorm and crippling ice storm rolled across Western Washington.

The task to clean up downed trees posed a challenge as the region faced a long power outage and difficult road conditions.

“From a tree damage standpoint, this has been very high,” city Arborist Alan Haywood said Jan. 23. “It’s not as catastrophic as the big windstorms we’ve had, because we did not have many real large trees come down and come down on houses and do that kind of damage.”

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Tree cleanup is latest headache for storm-weary residents

January 23, 2012

NEW — 8:15 p.m. Jan. 23, 2012

Fallen tree branches, scattered across the landscape like so many broken Lincoln Logs, continue to bedevil road crews and residents days after a major snowstorm and crippling ice storm rolled across Western Washington.

The task to clean up downed trees posed a challenge as the region faced a long power outage and difficult road conditions.

“From a tree damage standpoint, this has been very high,” city Arborist Alan Haywood said Jan. 23. “It’s not as catastrophic as the big windstorms we’ve had, because we did not have many real large trees come down and come down on houses and do that kind of damage.”

Downed trees on roadways prompted closures on city, county and state roads in Issaquah and nearby areas. Some homeowners reported damage from falling branches.

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City activates Emergency Operations Center, Eastside Fire & Rescue opens shelters

January 19, 2012

NEW — 5:10 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

City officials opened the Emergency Operations Center on Thursday afternoon to coordinate the response to a major snowstorm and ice storm, and subsequent power outages across Issaquah and the region.

The decision came as more than 18,000 customers in Issaquah faced nightfall without power and temperatures in the low 30s. Puget Sound Energy is in the midst of a colossal effort to restore power to about 200,000 customers in Western Washington. In a tweet posted at 4:59 p.m., PSE said people without power should not expect to have power restored Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Eastside Fire & Rescue opened Fire Station 82, 1851 228th Ave. N.E., and Fire Station 83, 3425 Issaquah-Pine Lake Road S.E., as warming shelters.

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Issaquah residents urged to prepare amid King County flood watch

November 21, 2011

NEW — 5 p.m. Nov. 21, 2011

King County is under a flood watch as a precipitation-laden system barrels into Western Washington, and Issaquah residents should prepare for localized flooding as rain and wind pelt the area.

The flood watch is in effect until through late Wednesday night. Expect 2 to 4 inches of rainfall Monday night and Tuesday as the snow level rises to about 6,000 feet, and then another 1 to 3 inches Tuesday night and Wednesday as the snow level gradually dips to about 3,000 feet.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle said any flooding related to the system is expected to be minor.

In addition, a wind advisory is in effect through noon Tuesday.

Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director, said leaves dislodged from trees by rain and wind could also clog storm drains and lead to flooding along city streets.

Issaquah Creek flooding is not expected to pose a major problem in the days ahead.

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