Comcast broadcasts Japan earthquake coverage to Issaquah customers

March 11, 2011

NEW — 4 p.m. March 11, 2011

Comcast digital customers in Issaquah and elsewhere in Western Washington — regardless of service level — can watch TV Japan on Channel 245 through March 18. The channel is broadcasting ongoing live news coverage from earthquake- and tsunami-stricken areas in Japan.

Officials directed people to check the American Red Cross Safe and Well Program or call the U.S. Department of State at 888-407-4747 or 202-647-5225 for information about relatives impacted by the earthquake and the tsunami.

People can donate to disaster relief efforts through the Red Cross Serving King & Kitsap Counties. People can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to help people affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific Ocean.

Read more

County emergency planners use Japan disaster as reminder to prepare

March 11, 2011

NEW — 11 a.m. March 11, 2011

King County emergency managers continue to monitor the Japan tsunami, though the Office of Emergency Management does not expect the disaster to significantly impact the area.

The office directed people to check the American Red Cross Safe and Well Program or call the U.S. Department of State at 888-407-4747 or 202-647-5225 for information about relatives impacted by the earthquake and the tsunami.

Following the magnitude-8.9 earthquake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued alerts for the U.S. West Coast, and around 8:45 a.m., a small wave — about 4.5 inches and smaller than high tide — reached the Seattle waterfront.

“Our thoughts go out to all those affected by this disaster,” County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “While the tsunami didn’t affect King County, our Office of Emergency Management has been on top of developments and coordinating with our partners throughout the region.”

Though the county escaped harm in the ongoing disaster, the tragedy in Japan serves as a reminder to prepare now for emergencies.

Read more

King County leaders reflect on Nisqually earthquake

March 1, 2011

Leaders said King County has undertaken projects designed to protect life and property in the 10 years since the Nisqually earthquake.

The magnitude-6.8 tremor struck the region at 10:54 a.m. Feb. 28, 2001.

“I was a state senator serving in Olympia when the Nisqually quake struck, and it sounded like the Capitol building dome was going to collapse on top of us,” County Executive Dow Constantine recalled in a statement. “Particularly after that experience, I take emergency preparation very seriously. I am pleased to see the progress we have made in the past decade to make us better able to withstand the next substantial earthquake in our region.”

The earthquake cracked the Capitol dome and caused widespread damage across the Puget Sound region, injured hundreds of people and left billions of dollars in property damage.

“As many residents may recall, the King County Courthouse was one of the hardest-hit buildings in the quake,” county Facilities Management Director Kathy Brown said. “Inspectors found cracked plaster, broken windows and failed clay tile walls. Fortunately, though, the primary structure escaped damage.”

In the aftermath, the county acted quickly to retrofit the courthouse to current seismic standards. The improvements included pouring a new foundation and shear walls, adding shock absorbers and installing carbon fiber reinforcing wrap on support columns. The seismic retrofit, plus safety improvements to the building, cost $105 million. Crews completed the project on time and under budget.

Read more

King County leaders reflect on Nisqually earthquake

February 28, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Feb. 28, 2011

King County leaders said the county has undertaken projects designed to protect life and property in the 10 years since the Nisqually earthquake.

The magnitude-6.8 tremor struck the region at 10:54 a.m. Feb. 28, 2001.

“I was a state senator serving in Olympia when the Nisqually quake struck, and it sounded like the Capitol building dome was going to collapse on top of us,” County Executive Dow Constantine recalled. “Particularly after that experience, I take emergency preparation very seriously. I am pleased to see the progress we have made in the past decade to make us better able to withstand the next substantial earthquake in our region.”

The earthquake cracked the Capitol dome and caused widespread damage across the Puget Sound region.

Read more

Issaquah Creek menaces homes, floods streets

December 14, 2010

City emergency responders turn attention to mudslides in aftermath

The rain-swollen East Fork of Issaquah Creek spills into a parking lot at Northeast Crescent Drive and Front Street North on Dec. 12. By Megan Ching

Rainfall gorged Issaquah Creek and menaced homes, businesses and roads Dec. 12, as a late-fall storm reminded emergency officials and residents to plan for a rain-soaked winter.

The deluge turned the creek into a roiling broth the color of chocolate milk and led to flooding on roads and in Issaquah neighborhoods. Read more

La Niña prepares to soak Pacific Northwest

November 2, 2010

The extended forecast calls for La Niña.

La Niña means unusually cold temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near South America — and colder-than-normal temperatures and greater-than-normal rain- and snowfall in Western Washington.

Ni Cushmeer, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Seattle, said residents should expect “classic La Niña” conditions to start in November. The combination of soggy conditions and cold temperatures has emergency planners concerned about floods and snowfall.

“As we go into a La Niña weather pattern, we expect that we’re probably going to have more rain than usual from October to December, it’s going to be colder than normal from January to March and we’re also going to see an increased precipitation potential in those months of January to March,” King County Emergency Management Director Hillman Mitchell said. “Throughout the whole winter, we’re looking at a wetter pattern and a colder pattern toward the latter part of the winter.”

Read more

Planning for worst-case scenario is business as usual for emergency director

November 2, 2010

King County faces risks from earthquakes, floods, terrorism, volcanic eruptions and more than a dozen other threats.

For Hillman Mitchell, director of the King County Office of Emergency Management, planning for a worst-case scenario is business as usual. The longtime emergency planner and Sammamish resident settled into the role Aug. 3 after a stint as the emergency management coordinator in Tukwila.

Mitchell served in the South King County city as the region braced for a destructive Green River flood exacerbated by the storm-damaged Howard Hanson Dam. Though the flood did not occur, the effort — and a candid assessment of potential damage across the region — earned Mitchell respect from leaders in other cities.

“Obviously, the Green River planning activity really brought together a lot of those collaborative and cooperative opportunities to look at how we respond, not just from a city’s perspective, but as we respond to disasters that don’t respect political boundaries,” he said.

Read more

Take steps to keep seniors cool as temperatures climb

July 10, 2010

NEW — 8 a.m. July 10, 2010

Seniors can be especially vulnerable to high temperatures, so public health officials urge King County residents to check up on elderly neighbors and relatives as the mercury climbs.

Older adults, young children and people with mental illness and chronic diseases face the highest risk of heat-related illness. Find tips to beat the heat from Public Health – Seattle & King County here.

Read more

Get help paying for storm-related damages

January 2, 2009

NEW — 3:36 p.m. Jan. 2, 2009

Property and business owners who had losses due to the recent winter weather may be eligible for assistance getting their property back in order.

King County homeowners and small business owners who have suffered damages from recent weather related conditions should file a damage report with the King County Office of Emergency Management by Jan 9.

A hotline (800-523-5044 toll-free) has been established for reporting damages and is open from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Jan. 5-9. Read more

« Previous Page