Ferry County Hit Hard

This picture shows a building blown 6o feet off it's foundation by recent violent wind storms in Ferry County.

Our friend Bob gives us this report of recent storms in Ferry County:

“In Ferry County everyone has freezers full of deer meat that gets us thru the year. Being this rural, all of us shop in bulk and freeze food.

Without power its all going bad. I just found out they are still rationing blocks of ice in Republic. Keller on the Colville reservation is even more devastated than North County but we are not hearing about it as much, yet. again, no power and all food going bad.”

See report below for more info. Stay tuned for information on how you can donate to help out:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 1200 Noon
Shawn Soliday – Incident Commander
Incident Information – 509 990-6218

Geographic Location: Ferry County. San Poil River valley, north from Columbia River.

Event: A severe windstorm with windbursts exceeding 100 mph occurred July 20, 2012, resulting in extensive property damage and power disruption.

Injuries: One fatality in Ferry County.

PUD Crews: 9

Trimming Crews: 2 with 2 more coming

The Ferry County Commissioners declared a disaster.

Governor Christine Gregoire declared a disaster affecting 16 counties in eastern Washington.

Current Situation:
Electricity: Line crews are repairing powerline infrastructure throughout the San Poil River valley. Of nearly 1000 miles of powerlines, approximately 300 miles are operational. Power has been restored to approximately 40% of the 3500 customers under the Ferry County Public Utility District. The communities of Republic, Keller and most of the main powerlines have had their power restored, but branch lines and more distant connections will require more time. Reconnecting the power to water systems is a high priority.

Transportation: State Highways 21, 20 and 395 and all County Roads that lead to homes are open and “passable.” Work continues to clear the shoulders, ditches and a safety zone adjacent to the roadway. This stage could require several weeks. Forest roads are still being assessed and re-opened.

Services:. The Sheriff’s office is coordinating requests for assistance including food, water and fuel. A shelter that will provide beds and water is being established by the Red Cross at the High School in Republic that will be ready by 5:00 pm on July 24. The Colville Confederated Tribes have established a shelter at the Community Center in Keller. We are working to identify sources of potable water that are available to the public.

Damage Reporting and More Information: Report damage to your property and needs for services at 509 775-0266. Report powerline issues and continuing outages to the Ferry County PUD at 509 775-3325. These phone calls help clarify the continuing needs for services and can help establish the level of damage that occurred in this event. Officials must know how much damage occurred in order to qualify for some forms of community assistance.

Current Closures: The US Forest Service’s Ten Mile Campground is closed.

Meeting: There are Public Information Session meetings planned for 7:00 pm tonight (July 24) and also at 7 pm tomorrow (Wednesday, July 25) at the Republic High School. This is a chance to hear reports from various partners to learn more about restoration of services.

Cooperating Agencies: Ferry County Sheriff and Public Works. Ferry County PUD. Tri-County Health. Washington State Department of Transportation. Washington State Emergency Management. Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

Safety: Assume all powerlines are ELECTRIFIED! As power is restored, lines that have been down for several days may become re-charged. Do not touch or approach fallen or broken powerlines.

Improperly installed generators can cause power to travel back along the powerlines and causes immediate danger to repair crews. Do not connect a generator directly to your home system unless you have an approved transfer switch. If repair crews find an improperly installed generator, they will disconnect it.

Guy Gifford
Forest Protection Forester
Land Owner Assistance Section, Northeast Region
Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
(509) 990-6218

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