Great Washington ShakeOut earthquake drill is Oct. 18

October 16, 2012

October is Disaster Preparedness Month in Washington.

The observance also includes a statewide drop, cover and hold earthquake drill.

The drill, dubbed the Great Washington ShakeOut, is scheduled for 10:18 a.m. Oct. 18. The regional earthquake exercise includes participants in California, Idaho, Oregon and across the border in British Columbia.

The effort is designed to emphasize the importance of emergency preparedness at home, school and the workplace.

State officials hope the exercise involves more than 1 million participants in Washington.

Washington residents can register for the drill at www.shakeout.org/washington.

Puget Sound Energy prepares for high seasonal rain, wind

October 12, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Oct. 12, 2012

Puget Sound Energy is prepared if high winds and heavy rain hit the region in the days ahead as forecast, a company executive said Thursday.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle said heavy rain is expected throughout the Puget Sound region over the weekend and into next week. The long spell of dry weather came to a sudden end Friday, and heavy rain is expected to arrive late Saturday.

Andy Wappler, PSE vice president of corporate affairs and a certified meteorologist, said the Bellevue-based utility spent the dry months preparing for autumn and winter weather.

“While the sun was shining these past few months, our crews were busy trimming trees, working on reliability projects and getting ready for winter,” he said in a statement. “Now that the weather is changing, those preparations will help us serve our customers as storm season begins.”

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October, Disaster Preparedness Month, includes earthquake drill

October 4, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Oct. 4, 2012

October is Disaster Preparedness Month in Washington.

In a Disaster Preparedness Month proclamation, Gov. Chris Gregoire urged residents to take appropriate actions to prepare for future emergencies. The observance also includes a statewide drop, cover and hold earthquake drill.

The drill, dubbed the Great Washington ShakeOut, is scheduled for 10:18 a.m. Oct. 18. The regional earthquake exercise includes participants in California, Idaho, Oregon and across the border in British Columbia.

The effort is designed to emphasize the importance of emergency preparedness at home, school and the workplace.

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King County executive appoints emergency management director

August 29, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 29, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed local crisis manager Walt Hubbard to lead the county Office of Emergency Management.

Hubbard served as acting director at the agency for the past several months, since former Director Hillman Mitchell departed for a private sector job. Officials selected Hubbard after a nationwide search, and Constantine announced the appointment Tuesday.

“Walt brings a wealth of experience and strong local relationships that will help us protect residents and businesses in the event of disaster,” he said in a statement.

King County faces risks from earthquakes, floods, terrorism, volcanic eruptions and numerous other threats, both natural and manmade.

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Residents can join Great Shakeout regional earthquake drill

August 21, 2012

Statewide, more than 160,000 residents plan to participate in the Great Shakeout earthquake drill at 10:18 a.m. Oct. 18.

The regional exercise is meant to bring together residents and emergency planners in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California and British Columbia. The event includes a simultaneous drop, cover and hold earthquake drill. Register to participate in the exercise at www.shakeout.org/washington.

“Earthquakes are a hazard throughout the state, and the Pacific coast and Puget Sound can experience a tsunami at any time,” John Schelling, earthquake, tsunami and volcano program manager for the state Emergency Management Division, said in a statement.

King County leaders offer tips for residents to beat heat

August 16, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. Aug. 16, 2012

King County leaders offered tips Thursday for residents to help residents cope as near-record temperatures broil the region.

Officials offered information for residents to remain safe in the high temperatures, prevent wildfires in the dry conditions and encourage safety on the water, as people seek relief in lakes and rivers.

King County is under a regional excessive heat warning. The alert means the region is in a prolonged period of dangerously hot temperatures, and the combination of heat and humidity can cause heat-related illnesses. The excessive heat warning is in effect until 11 p.m. Friday.

In Issaquah, temperatures exceeded 90 degrees Thursday and should top 90 again Friday.

“Our region is known for rain, not hot weather like this,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “Extreme heat can be dangerous, even deadly, so we are urging everyone to take precautions to keep cool and stay safe.”

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State lands commissioner asks for help from public amid high wildfire risk

August 16, 2012

NEW — 10:30 p.m. Aug. 16, 2012

State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark asked for help from the public Thursday to prevent wildfires, as the risk rises on both sides of the Cascades.

“The next three days are going to be very dangerous in terms of the potential for wildfire,” he said in a statement. “That is true in Western Washington as well as Eastern Washington. It is everyone’s responsibility to be safe and not take any risks.”

The request came as the National Weather Service maintains a regional excessive heat warning for communities along Puget Sound and in the Cascade foothills. Temperatures could approach 100 degrees in Issaquah on Thursday.

The weekend forecast includes a significant risk of lightning-sparked wildfires.

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Temperature to inch close to 100 degrees in Issaquah

August 16, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Aug. 16, 2012

Expect the temperature to climb to almost 100 degrees in Issaquah on Thursday, as the week comes to a simmering conclusion.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle forecast a high temperature near 96 and sunny conditions for Thursday. Expect a high temperature near 94 and sunny conditions on Friday. The high temperature is expected to drop to a more manageable 82 degrees Saturday.

Issaquah is under a regional excessive heat warning. The alert means the region is in a prolonged period of dangerously hot temperatures, and the combination of heat and humidity can cause heat-related illnesses. The excessive heat warning is in effect until 11 p.m. Friday.

The city is also under a regional red flag warning, meaning a combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and high temperatures can create explosive fire potential. The red flag warning is in effect until 11 a.m. Thursday.

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Issaquah donation site established for residents impacted by Taylor Bridge Fire

August 15, 2012

NEW — 10:15 a.m. Aug. 15, 2012

The public can donate items to help Cle Elum residents displayed by the Taylor Bridge Fire at a drop-off site in Issaquah.

Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce leaders established a drop-off site at Hilton Garden Inn Issaquah, 1800 N.W. Gilman Blvd. Organizers requested non-perishable food and water, clothing and blankets, toiletries and items for infants, such as diapers and formula, and pet supplies.

Citizens can also donate cash to the relief effort.

The chamber also established drop-off sites in Ellensburg and Yakima.

The wildfire stretches for 17 miles and, so far, burned more than 28,000 acres. The fire is 10 percent contained, and more than 800 firefighters continue to battle the blaze.
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Off the Press

June 26, 2012

Preparing for worst-case scenario in Issaquah

Warren Kagarise
Press reporter

The earthquake existed only on paper and pixels for a brief span in early June, but the aftermath lingers.

Officials in local, regional, state and federal government participated in a drill, called the 2012 Evergreen Quake Exercise Series, to prepare for a devastating disaster in Issaquah and Western Washington.

The scenario for the exercise reads like the script for a disaster flick set in Issaquah.

The magnitude-6.7 earthquake rattled along the Seattle Fault at 8 a.m. Monday, June 4, as motorists surged on Interstate 90 and clogged city streets, en route to work and school.

The interstate turned impassable in a matter of seconds, as the exit to Front Street North and East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast crumbled.

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