Agencies continue to respond to winter weather

High winds caused damage to numerous trees and power lines in the Florence area, including this tree that fell on on a power line on Munsel Lake Road near the Siuslaw Rod & Gun Club. (Photo by Zac Burtt/Siuslaw News)

Jan. 8, 2022 — The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a flood watch on Thursday for all of the northern half of the Oregon Coast. The flood watch, which lasted until Friday afternoon, was issued as high water situations continue to  impact roads and travelers not only along the Oregon Coast but into the Willamette Valley and the I- 5 corridor leading to Portland. 

The issue for local drivers is no longer icy conditions, but rising waters which have continued to accumulate in lower elevations. Mapleton School District delayed school opening on Friday for two hours while the Siuslaw School District opened on time.

“Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams and other low-lying and flood-prone locations. Creeks and streams may rise out of their banks,” the NWS said.

Central Lincoln Public Utility District has been working since the weekend storms to return service to their customers and released a statement sharing the state of repairs as of Friday.

“Thankfully, nature was kind last night, and the latest squall didn’t cause a large number of new outages,” CLPUD stated. “We’ll be tackling the ones that did pop up today. That beautiful yet extremely rugged area near Cape Perpetua and south has three line crews and a tree crew toiling away there to end this very stubborn outage. Lines are down, and must be re-strung while standing on extraordinarily steep hillsides — and between canyons.”

According to CLPUD, crews “still have a lot of work to restore power in this area.” 

Some customers have been without power for several days, since the weekend’s winter windstorm led to downed trees and powerlines. 

“We are reminded of the ‘Snowzilla’ freak snowstorm of March 2012, when this same area was without power for seven days,” CLPUD said. “The damage included broken poles.”

Work on Friday included work in both the Florence and Reedsport areas.

CLPUD also offered advice for people to be ready for future storms.

“We cannot emphasize the need to be prepared for additional outages enough. Please stock up on batteries for flashlights and radios, fill fuel tanks for generators, have water and non-perishable food on hand, extra blankets, hats, gloves, food for your pets and back-up for medical needs sooner rather than later,” the PUD posted to its Facebook account. “Some customers have been out of power for four days and could possibly be out for five. Now that another high wind warning is in effect, this could happen all over again. Please take the time to prepare now.”

The City of Florence has also continued storm cleanup throughout the week, as well as responding, along with local emergency response groups, to an accident on the Siuslaw River Bridge, which led to a bridge closure on Jan. 4.

People can learn about how to report storm related issues through the links provided at www.ci.florence.or.us/publicworks/report-storm-related-issues.

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