Grays Harbor County Logo
Grays Harbor County Departments Internet Links Contact Us
Emergency Management
  DEM Home    News    Calendar 

Department of Emergency Management


Press Release Detail

Thursday, January 29, 2015  00:16

Issued: Monday, September 27, 2010  00:00

Fall & Winter Flooding in Western Washington


Fall & Winter Flooding in Western Washington
   The fall and winter seasons bring a great deal of change to the weather patterns for the Pacific Northwest. The storms of October, November and December can bring heavy precipitation amounts causing significant flooding in Western Washington. This year, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a 33% chance for increased normal precipitation for all of Washington State with a 40% chance for above normal precipitation for areas West of the Cascades. This is all related to the La Nina conditions of the Pacific which are expected to last thru the winter of 2010-2011.
   How will you know if the rivers are rising? Will the next weather pattern bring the flood waters? Where can you obtain the most reliable and up to the minute information you need?
 When the weather patterns begin to change, Grays Harbor County Emergency Management begins to monitor the river gauges along with the precipitation and storm forecasts in great detail. While disseminating the incoming available information along with the weather we are currently experiencing, an informational message will be sent to the news media, to the Grays Harbor Notification System participants living in the affected areas and to all local jurisdictional governmental agencies via e-mail, giving a 48-36 hour notice of the possibility of flooding conditions. The Grays Harbor Emergency Management website will also post the information. At that time, if the possibility of being impacted by a flooding event exists, you should be preparing your family, home, pets and livestock by reviewing and following the disaster plans you have made at an earlier time. Prior preparation is paramount in a flooding event.
   Updated messages will be sent as the forecasts and conditions change. If you have a NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio, it will activate, broadcasting essential information about the areas expected to flood. As it becomes evident that the event will impact the County, the Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) will activate in Montesano and be available for assistance to all entities of the County. A great deal of coordination takes place during these events. The news media, the Grays Harbor Notification System and the Grays Harbor County Emergency Management website will be used to forward information to the public about hazards, road closures and available shelters.  Each City and Indian Tribe is responsible for their own jurisdiction. If they have a situation where they will need additional assistance for equipment or personnel etc, they will be able to contact the ECC. The ECC will then begin a search for the assistance requested by the City or Tribe.
   The most important thing to remember about any weather related or disaster event is preparation. Those prepared reduce the impact of the event significantly. Those unprepared, risk the loss of property, their home, pets, livestock and possibly the injury or death of a family member.
   Grays Harbor County Emergency Management would like to advise all citizens to become PRO-ACTIVE and prepare for the approaching fall and winter storm seasons. The ESSENTIAL PREPARATION ITEMS include:
1)       Obtain an All Hazard Weather Radio, program it to the proper frequency and change the batteries in it every time we change the clocks. (next time change is Nov. 7th)
2)      Sign up for the Grays Harbor County Notification System (You’ll receive a text message, phone call and an e-mail with information about any weather or disaster related issue)
3)      Find out where the closest shelter or safe haven is located and practice moving to that area with your entire family.
4)      All members of your family should have a person to call outside of Grays Harbor County to inform of their situation in the event they are separated from your family during an emergency or weather situation.
5)      Prepare a GO-KIT backpack with:  ** These are minimal amounts **
a)       an AM/FM battery operated portable radio
b)      Flashlight
c)       1- 2 bottles of water for each person and for each pet in the household.
d)      Matches in a waterproof container (plastic bag)
e)      Snack bars for your family and a small plastic bag of food for each pet
f)       Pocket knife
g)      A sweatshirt or light jacket for each member
h)      Disposable rain poncho for each member of your family
i)        Hand warmer packets
j)        Package of sanitary wipes
For more information on becoming PRO-ACTIVE and to sign up for the Grays Harbor County Notification System, please go to the Grays Harbor County Emergency Management website at: or call (360) 249-3911.