The North Oregon Coast is no stranger to the winter windstorm, whether a “pineapple express” bringing high winds and copious rain, or an icy windstorm from the north.
Often high winds that reach over 100 miles an hour at the headlands knock out the power. Fallen trees can close the major highways that connect the coast to inland resources, or connect coastal communities with one another. Long distance phone lines and cell phone service can be interrupted.
The resulting isolation means residents must be self-reliant for a period of time until power and other services are restored. This process can take longer in our rural area than in urban environments.
The natural environment that attracts many nature-lovers can turn against local residents during a storm. The town of Nehalem is susceptible to serious flooding. Manzanita beach can become dangerous as outsized debris is tossed ashore from high waves. Highway 101 is susceptible to flooding, washouts, falling trees and downed power lines. The Nehalem Bay area can become isolated from larger cities to the north and south.
Unlike other types of disasters, we usually have a few days of warning that a powerful storm may be on its way, and residents have a lot of experience with powerful wind storms. In fact, the Emergency Volunteer Corps of Nehalem Bay has its roots in an unprecedented three-day wind storm that that hit in December 2007.
Have you, your family and neighbors prepared for the biggest wind and winter storms?