Saturday storm and flood updates
Some residents of South Thurston County reported becoming ill after drinking water from wells, according to emergency management officials...
Residents advised to boil well water
Some residents of South Thurston County reported becoming ill after drinking water from wells, according to emergency management officials.
Thurston County Health officer Dr. Diana Yu urged residents to be extra cautious in using well water in the south part of the county.
Yu said even residents whose property was not flooded could have contaminated wells.
"Unless your well has been tested and you are absolutely sure it is clean, you should probably use bottled water or boil your water," Yu said in a news release.
Signs that water may be contiminated include an unusual smell or coloration.
Donations sought for flood victims
The Boistfort Valley Community Foundation, a non-profit organization, is asking for cash donations to aid flood victims in Curtis, Washington, one of the cities hardest-hit by last week's flood.
One-hundred percent of donations will go to local flood victims. Checks can be made out to the Boistfort Valley Community Foundation and sent care of the Lewis County Fire Department, PO Box 16, Curtis, WA 98538. For more information, call the foundation at 360-245-3207.
Firewood needed in Thurston County
Residents in the Rochester area of Thurston County are in urgent need of firewood, emergency officials say.
Donations can be dropped off at the Rochester Organization of Family Community Services at 10140 Highway 12 in Rochester from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Wood should be dry seasoned pieces no more than 18 inches in length or diameter. No stumps will be accepted.
Details are available from Thurston County Emergency Management, 360-754-3360.
School's remodel ruined
A map on Principal Denny Taylor's door shows Centralia and Chehalis in bright splotches of blue, green, yellow and red. Where the hills are, the map is blue. Where the flood plain is — a great swath stretching from South and West Centralia down to Chehalis — the map is red.
On the edge of one of those red patches, right before it blends into yellow, someone has drawn a little black dot. That's marks the location of the Centralia Christian School, the private K-8 school Taylor has looked after for the last few years.
The 29-year-old school moved to its current location in 2007. It has been building and renovating the warehouse space for the past seven years, and just recently entered what Taylor calls "Stage 3."
"We just put in the gorgeous maple floor of the gym two months ago," he says. "We'd just ordered the bleachers."
Last Monday, the school sustained 18 inches of flooding, which destroyed hundreds of books, a few dozen computers and "priceless things" like teachers' curriculums, which they've been honing for decades. Oh, and those "gorgeous" maple floors?
"We came in here and the floor was all bumpy and warped," Taylor said Friday. "We're getting someone in here to see what we can do."
But, like so many others in the Centralia and Chehalis area, Taylor says the flood has engendered an incredible sense of community support. On Wednesday, 72 parents, children and teachers showed up to help clean out their school. On Thursday, there were 80. Taylor lost count on Friday.
"People just came in from everywhere, offering to help out. We were able to strip out the carpet, get the insulation out, get this place dried out quicker than we thought possible. It was an incredible show of support," he says.
Even with all the help, the school will not reopen until Jan. 2.
Taylor's wife, kindergarten teacher Connie Taylor, and her teaching partner, Annie Wilson, are compiling "home schooling" kits for their kids for the next month.
Most public schools in Lewis County opened this week. The Boistford School District will be closed until Dec. 10.
Rotting hay causing
Rotting hay causing
barn fires in flood areas
Rural residents of Lewis, Grays Harbor, Pacific and Thurston counties, who've already spent the past week dealing with flooded roads, destroyed homes and farms, and thousands of dead livestock, are now having to face a new and unexpected side effect of last week's flood: Spontaneous barn fires.
"When the hay gets wet, it starts to rot. That decomposition causes heat. When all that hay's stacked up on top of each other, it can cause barn fires," says Ron Mauel, President of the Lewis County Farm Bureau. "We're trying to get the word out: You got to get that hay out of your barn quick."
According to Sgt. Stacy Brown of the Lewis County Emergency Operations Center, two barn fires already have been reported in Lewis County. United Way and the Lewis County EOC are offering teams of volunteers to remove hay from barns if local farmers call for assistance.
"It's not as big a deal for the big farmers who can just get in there with machinery and pull out the big bales, but for the little farmers, the older folks, they need crews to help them," says Mauel.
Once the hay has been removed from the barns, it cannot be fed to dairy cows or horses. The mold content can be hazardous to those animals, says Mauel.
In the towns of Adna, Curtis, and Boistford — the hardest hit rural areas in Lewis County — the Lewis County Farm Bureau estimates that between 700 and 1,000 dairy animals drowned last week.
"That's a conservative estimate at this point," says Mauel. "And that's just the dairy farmers' count. We don't know the numbers from the beef, sheep, goat producers yet."
The Lewis County Farm Bureau and the Lewis County Health Department are working on safely disposing of the animal carcasses. The Chehalis Livestock Market is receiving donations of clean, dry hay from private local farmers. Donations are being distributed to farms in the flood zone. Efforts to replace dead livestock will depend on when the farming facilities become operational again.
Displaced propane tanks
Displaced propane tanks
worrying emergency officials
Sgt. Stacy Brown of the Lewis County Emergency Operation Center says that the newest challenge in the ongoing flood cleanup is dealing with propane tanks that might have floated away in this week's flooding. If liquid enters the tank and the moisture expands, they can become explosive, she says.
"We're warning people to stay away and call for help," she says. There have been no reports of propane tank explosions in Lewis County yet.
Several state roads
remain closed today
More than half dozen major roads remain closed throughout Washington today because of flood and storm damage as highway crews work to restore access, according to the state Department of Transportation.
• U.S. 101, State Road 106 and State Road 166 in Kitsap County remain closed to all but local traffic.
• State Route 6, which spans Lewis and Pacific counties, is closed to all traffic in both directions. A 10-mile stretch of the road between Elk Prairie Road to Mullenix Street buckled after a landslide.
• State Route 96, south of Everett, is closed between 125th Street Southeast and 60th Avenue Southeast because of a washed-out culvert. Drivers can detour using Cathcart Way and State Route 9.
• The State Road 3 offramp to Newberry Hill Road in Bremerton, which had been closed because of a mudslide, reopened at noon today.
Red Cross tallies
The American Red Cross said today that its preliminary survey of flood damage showed that 151 homes throughout the state were destroyed, 893 sustained major damage and another 1,500 were slightly damaged. Another 1,500 homes with potentially severe damages remain inaccessible, the Red Cross said.
Official assessment of the flood damage is being compiled by the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But that survey data are not yet available, said Mike Howard, an agency spokesman.
Washington storm areas
Grays Harbor County, one of the hardest hit areas, continues to struggle with 16,000 customers still without power this morning. In Oakville, an order to boil water has been lifted after the Washington National Guard delivered a generator to get the treatment plant operating.
Pacific County still has 2,000 customers without power while Mason County has 400 customers without electricity.
In Lewis County most power outages have been fixed, Porter said.
Grays Harbor County
Predicted cold brings
carbon monoxide warning
The Washington State Emergency Operations Center is warning residents who are still without power to guard against carbon monoxide poisoning as overnight low temperatures are expected to plunge during the next several days. Nearly 3,700 residents remained without power this morning, including 3,000 people Grays Harbor County. Nighttime temperatures are expected to dip into the low 20s for the next four days. Residents should never use gas generators or charcoal briquettes indoors. Gas ovens should never be used to heat a room, even for short periods.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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