Recently in Local Events Category

Shows you how in tune I am with the world of air travel - this was news to me. From The Seattle Times:

Alaska will fold Virgin America brand within two years
Alaska Air Group said Wednesday it will eventually drop the Virgin America brand name, a decision that may test the loyalty of Virgin customers who prized the airline’s hip and irreverent sensibility.

Seattle-based Alaska, which late last year completed its $4 billion acquisition of San Francisco-based Virgin America over the protests of founder Richard Branson, said the change will be made “likely sometime in 2019.”

The company said in a statement that the combined Alaska Airlines “will adopt many of the brand elements that Virgin America enthusiasts love about their favorite airline, including enhanced in-flight entertainment, mood lighting, music and the relentless desire to make flying a different experience for guests. The goal is to create a warm and welcoming West Coast-inspired vibe.”

The two are a good fit - both companies think outside of the box (to use a marketing buzzword). Alaska started in the 1930's with one plane flying out of Anchorage and quickly expanded to 22 aircraft. A fun pioneering history. Virgin America is a real newcomer - founded in 2004 with its first flight in 2007. Sir Richard Branson is sad to sell but he will make a lot of money - one estimate is $786 Million (Alaska Air is paying $2.6 Billion for the line)

Three years ago today - Oso

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A tragic landslide happened three years ago today. From The Bellingham Herald:

Three years later, families, officials and scientists wrestle with lessons learned from Oso landslide
Deborah Farnes looked forward to the day she would testify about the March 22, 2014, Oso landslide that killed her husband, Tom Durnell, while she was away at work at a hospital in Everett.

She hoped to share her grief over the loss of her spouse and 42 other people, and the anger that followed as she learned – for the first time – about the scope of the hazards posed by the hillside that came crashing down during that awful spring day three years ago.

“I wanted this to go to trial, and for this information to be made public. That there was this danger that existed,” Farnes said. “ I didn’t know about that until after everyone died, and it was too late.”

The trial was forestalled by $60 million in settlements reached just before the Oct. 10, 2016, scheduled start of opening arguments. But the years of legal sparring that led to that resolution put a spotlight on landslide risks in the Pacific Northwest, and the uneasy interplay between scientists who have the knowledge to assess that potential and government officials who must decide what – if anything – to do to protect the people who may live in harm’s way.

The civil case, involving 29 plaintiffs, some with multiple claims, had loomed as one of the largest tort cases in Washington history. It was brought by Farnes and other survivors who alleged that the state and a timber company – Grandy Lake Forest Associates – had taken actions that increased the risks of a catastrophic slide and failed to inform their neighbors in Steelhead Haven along the North Fork of the Stillaguamish about that potential.

The instability of the land was already known and there had been talk about buying the residents out and having them re-locate:

“If you are dealing with landslide hazards … you at some point, implicitly or explicitly, have to decide what level of risk is acceptable, and most decision-makers have to rely on people like me in order to do that,” said Dan Miller, a geomorphologist who wrote some of the early reports warning about Oso’s deep-seated landslide formation. “So what kind of information are they getting?”

1999 study prepared by Miller for the Army Corps of Engineers cited the potential for a catastrophic failure of what was known as the Hazel Landslide formation, and a 2000 study for the corps listed buying out the residents of Steelhead Haven as an option to reduce the risks of loss of life.

And the whole valley is unstable:

Since the slide, new research has documented a history of more than 200 other deep-seated landslides along a 15.5-mile stretch of the North Fork of the Stillaguamish that includes the Oso site. Many occurred from a few hundred to a few thousand years ago, and some had enough power to move across the river.

“The valley’s geomorphology shows that it is capable of failing in a big catastrophic fashion, but predicting where it will fail is not easy,” said Sean LaHusen, a University of Washington researcher, a co-author of the study that was published this year in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

I already had my amateur radio license but it was Oso that prompted me to get more involved with Emergency Communications and CERT. Our own little hamlet has its share of risks - volcano, earthquakes, lahar, landslide, forest fire. That and we are at the end of a long and thin supply line - anything that disrupts traffic for more than a couple of days and people will start running out of food and supplies.

Winter wonderland - WSDOT

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Our State Department of Transportation just released this video about February's storm. Starting around 0:33 seconds, they look at my highway - SR-542. I live off of milepost 27, the video was shot a little further up the road at milepost 38, just past where I go for coffee. Gorgeous but treacherous.

All this rainfall is having an effect

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From The Bellingham Herald:

Heavy rains mean heightened risk of flooding, landslides
The never-ending rain could bring more than griping this week – flooding rivers and landslides are also possible.

On Tuesday morning, a landslide in Tacoma closed Marine View Drive at East 11th Street.

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch through Wednesday morning in Pierce, King and Mason counties and warned that moderate to heavy rains could cause minor flooding on some rivers.

Be careful out there.

Life in the country - avalanche

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From the Skagit Valley Herald (about 50 miles due South of here):

Avalanche blocks Highway 20
An avalanche between Newhalem and Diablo is blocking Highway 20 and will not be cleared until next week.

The avalanche is believed to have happened late Thursday night or early Friday morning, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Andrea Petrich said.

Some gorgeous country - Diablo is a company town owned by Seattle City Light - it is where the people who work on the hydro dams live. Highway 20 is shut down at the pass but this avalanche complicates things for people living in the area.

Some traffic problems South of here

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Would not want to be driving in King County today. From The Seattle Times:

Semitruck carrying propane rolls over on I-5 in Seattle, shuts down freeway
All lanes of Interstate 5 were shut down Monday morning after a semitruck carrying propane rolled over, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. The freeway is closed between Interstate 90 and the West Seattle bridge. WSDOT previously reported the truck was carrying butane.

A spokesman for WSDOT said there is still no estimate of when the freeway may reopen.

“Drivers should plan for a rough afternoon commute,” said spokesman Marquise Allen. He asked motorists to delay or cancel any trips into Seattle planned for this afternoon. “It’s a standstill out there.”

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Interstate 5 is the major North/South route for this area - it goes from Vancouver, B.C. down to Tijuana, Mexico - this will impact any truck shipping for the West coast.

And, from the WA State Department of Transportation:

Snoqualmie Pass Road & Weather Conditions
Snow and slush on the roadway. Collision on I-90 westbound at milepost 52, Snoqualmie Pass summit, is blocking the westbound lanes. Westbound traffic is stopped at milepost 106.

And of course, I-90 is the main East/West route. Like I said, I would not want to be driving in King County today...

Our local roads are snow-covered but very drivable - made it out for coffee and to the store and post office without any problem. The NWS has snow through tomorrow, TWC has rain coming in tomorrow - we will see...

A result of the heavy rains

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Earth movement - the brunt of the rainstorm hit south of here - from The Bellingham Herald:

Mudslides close roads in 3 cities, westbound I-90 in Issaquah
Heavy rains caused two mudslides early Thursday, forcing the closure of a Puyallup road and the westbound lanes of Interstate 90 in Issaquah.

The landslide in Puyallup occurred just after 6 a.m. in the 3400 block of East Pioneer Way near Shaw Road. Police advised drivers to avoid the area.

The road is expected to reopen after 1 p.m.

Shortly before 5 a.m., a large mudslide washed over I-90 and blocked all lanes east of Sunset Way. There is no estimated time to reopen them.

Troopers said several vehicles were disabled but no one was injured.

They now have a single lane of I-90 open and are still cleaning debris. The railroad tracks are also covered by a slide - a popular commuter train has stopped service. From SoundTransit:

Update:Sounder north line canceled due to a mudslide
Sound Transit sent this bulletin at 02/16/2017 05:59 AM PST
Update: Special bus service along with regularly scheduled bus service is below.

The joys of country living - I was outside bringing the garbage can back to the house and 50% of the driveway is down to gravel and mud but the other 50% is still slick ice.

Clearing the highways

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From the Washington State Department of Transportation - here they are working on the Mt. Baker Highway

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And it is official

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From Whatcom County:

Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws Signs Proclamation of Emergency
The northern and eastern communities of Whatcom County have been the most significantly impacted with extended power outages, snow measured in feet, drifting snow and all schools in Whatcom County being closed. The American Red Cross has opened a shelter at the East Valley Regional Center at 8251 Kendall Rd, Maple Falls, WA 98266 in response to requests from Whatcom County Fire District #14. The City of Lynden has also proclaimed an emergency in the City.

The East Valley Regional Center is about ten miles from here. We have a lot of our meetings there. It is also the site of a food bank. Amazing resource and really good people.

The Snowpocalypse

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Looks like we have another couple of days of this shit. Both forecasting agencies are showing rain on Thursday but snow until then: National Weather Service / The Weather Channel

Our main highway is closed due to fallen trees and snow - from the Washington State Department of Transportation:

SR 542 Deming - Both directions of SR 542 at the Coal Creek Bridge (milepost 36) are closed due to downed trees and heavy snow. There is no estimate for when the roadway will reopen.

Mt. Baker Ski area has suspended operations until tomorrow: Snow Report

Heading out with Buttercup the tractor to get hay out to the critters, move some crap around the driveway in preperation for Thursday's rain and load up the wood bin on the back porch, I will probably lose power again and staying warm is a good thing...

Snowboarding at Mt. Baker

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Great video - a couple guys from France come over to compete in the 2016 Legendary Banked Slalom

This is a very fun weekend and the video really conveys the energy of the event. Fun too to recognize the area and most of the people. One of the French guys won in the Professional Men category - Mathieu Crepel. He had also won back in 2000 in the Junior category.

Nice write-up on local Amateur Radio

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Sudden Valley is a large housing development to the southeast of Bellingham. Their local newsletter had a nice post on the use of Ham Radio during the epic snowfall of late December.

The newsletter is only online in PDF format but the story is on the top right of the first page so easy to find. Christmas snow, or how radio cleared the roads

Go with the flow

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Our local river is quite rapid today - this is not only the half-inch of rain but it is also the warm weather melting out the low-lying snowpack.

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Over a fifteen-fold increase in just two days.

Earth movement in our county

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The ground is always moving in a lot of places in our County. Here is a big rock that came down onto I-5 around Christmas eve. It was found to be loose so the DOT brought in some machinery to help it along. From the WA State Department of Transportation Flickr feed:

20170105-rock.jpg

A bit of a bust north of here

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From The Bellingham Herald:

Canadians recover 68 pounds of meth in bust at Lynden border crossing
A commercial driver was arrested when he tried to smuggle 68 pounds of methamphetamine into Canada through the Lynden border crossing in December, the Canada Border Services Agency announced Tuesday.

The northbound driver was taken into secondary inspection Dec. 11. Canadian border officers on the Aldergrove side of the crossing found a black suitcase in his vehicle, with 68 pounds of meth inside, according to a news release.

He was arrested and turned over to Langley Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Talk about stupid - to have it in a suitcase in his cab. If it was hidden in the cargo, he could at least claim plausible deniability. This way? No.

Quite the run - Bellingham to Baker trail

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Being organised by the Cascade Mountain Runners:

From their about the trail page:

BELLINGHAM-MT. BAKER TRAIL
The Trail
The Bellingham-Mount Baker trail is envisioned to be a non motorized hut to hut multi use trail system. Leaving the sidewalks of downtown and following the Whatcom creek trail out of the city, the trail will turn to single track as it makes it’s way to the mountain. When completed the trail will span over 50 miles from Bellingham bay to the edge of the Easton glacier. The trail will be open year round to hiker’s, runners, backcountry horsemen and mountain bikes.

The Route
The trail connects a string of public lands together and uses several miles of the remaining Deming-Mt. Baker trail, now the Ridley creek trail built in 1909. This trail was the inspiration for, and hosted the Mount Baker Marathon from 1911-1913. Starting at Cornwall beach, Bellingham’s new waterfront development the trail will leave the built environment within just a few miles as it makes it’s way to Mt. Baker. Newly planned trails will take you around the north side of Lake Whatcom and up and over Stewart mountain to the town of Acme. Leaving Acme through the new South fork park the trail will traverse Blue and Bowman mountains to reach the Middle fork of the Nooksack river. The trail will follow the river valley up and link into the Ridley Creek and Railroad grade trails, where the dirt trail ends. For the mountaineers who opt climb to the summit, 4 miles of glacier travel remain.

They ran this route earlier this year:

2016 MOUNT BAKER ULTRA RUN
On Sunday June 5th 2016, 11 of the 12 runners returned to Cornwall beach after completing the 108 mile journey to the summit of Mount Baker and back in 41 hours and 30 minutes.

This years run was the 6th run since the first attempt in 2013 in an effort to bring attention to the newly planned Bellingham-Mt. Baker trail and revive the original spirit of the 1911 Mt. Baker Marathon. Two successful runs were completed in 2014 and 2015 with a time of 48 hours and 17 minutes followed up by a 40 hour finish last year. The group run is non competitive, with each runner completing the entire 108 mile distance as part of the team. This year runners came in from Oregon and as far away as Australia. The 2016 team was made up of 3 women and 9 men, with 3 runners returning from previous runs.

The fun thing is that the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce sponsored a similar race back in 1911 - there is a great story about the winner and #2.

Winter - it is getting serious

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Of the high Cascade Range passes connecting Western Washington with the East, Snoqualmie Pass is the one that they keep open no matter what. It runs from downtown Seattle and is the major transportation route for goods coming in and out of our neck of the woods. Shit just got real - from the Bellingham Herald:

Interstate 90 westbound over Snoqualmie Pass closed
State transportation officials say Interstate 90 westbound remains closed over Snoqualmie Pass after multiple collisions and spinouts due to snow and icy conditions.

The Washington Department of Transportation said in a news release that the freeway closed in both directions at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday between milepost 47 and milepost 106 near Ellensburg. Officials said the eastbound lanes had reopened by about 8:15 p.m. with chains or vehicles with all-wheel drive required.

Officials did not estimate when the westbound lanes of I-90 would reopen.

And, to make things more fun, there is an arctic cold front developing which could hit our area sometime early next week.

Road trip in a year or two - Hanford

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I knew that they were developing this into a National Historical Park. From The Seattle Times:

Hanford’s Manhattan Project park celebrates first year
The Manhattan Project National Historical Park at Hanford is a year old and proving to be quite popular.

About 13,000 people visited the park in its first year, despite its relatively remote location in southeastern Washington, far from the state’s major population centers.

“It’s a great number,” said Kris Kirby, who recently was named superintendent of the historical park.

She’s based in Denver and is splitting her time among the park’s three sites: the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland; Oak Ridge, Tenn.; and Los Alamos, N.M. Each community played a key role in developing the world’s first atomic bombs during World War II.

I am fascinated by nuclear energy - had the great pleasure of travelling with Lulu to visit Trinity Site two years ago. The main event at this park?

The centerpiece of the Hanford park is the B Reactor, the world’s first full-sized nuclear reactor. It was hurriedly built by the Manhattan Project in the darkest days of the war as the United States rushed to beat Nazi Germany in developing the first atomic bomb.

Tours?

Park tours are offered spring through fall, and Kirby wants to focus on increasing the number of people who take them.

Sounds like this new park is in good hands - looking forward to visiting in a year or two. One place I love that I have not been to in well over ten years is the Naval Undersea Museum at Keyport, WA. Maybe we can do a trip out there sometime this spring...

From the WA State Dept. of Transportation:

Chinook and Cayuse passes temporarily closing 10 a.m. Wednesday
MOUNT RAINIER – In advance of the forecasted storm in the mountains on Wednesday and Thursday, Chinook and Cayuse passes in Mount Rainier National Park will temporarily close at 10 a.m., Wednesday Nov. 23 as a precautionary measure. Crews will reevaluate conditions next week.

WSDOT will close Chinook Pass (elev. 5,430 feet) between Crystal Mountain Boulevard, about 12 miles northwest of the summit, and Morse Creek, five miles east of the summit. Cayuse Pass (elev. 4,675 feet) will close within Mount Rainier National Park from Crystal Mountain Boulevard to Stevens Canyon Road.

Fortunately, for those wanting to travel West to East, I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass is kept open except for the most dire of snowfalls.

And it is official - winter has arrived

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From the Washington State Department of Transportation:

Avalanche risk closes SR 20 North Cascades Highway
BURLINGTON – The North Cascades Highway section of State Route 20 is now closed until next spring.

The Washington State Department of Transportation has been monitoring the road and the avalanche chutes above the highway. WSDOT maintenance and avalanche technicians temporarily closed the highway Friday, Nov. 18, due to weekend snow forecasts.

Conditions were re-evaluated today, Monday Nov. 21, and more avalanche chutes are full and not stable – especially near Liberty Bell Mountain area – causing crews to close the road for the season.

“While there hasn’t been a ton of snow on the road, it’s continued building at higher elevations in the chutes,” said Twisp Maintenance Supervisor Don Becker. “The potential avalanche risk makes reopening unsafe for our crews and drivers.”

It re-opens in Spring - a gorgeous stretch of road but treacherous in winter.

Bailing on turkey day

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We were planning on having the kids over for Thanksgiving but bailed on it - too much stuff to deal with.

Our timing was good - this just popped up in the local weather forecast:

A PAIR OF FRONTS WILL IMPACT WESTERN WASHINGTON OVER THE
THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY WEEKEND. THE FIRST FRONT IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN
CROSSING WESTERN WASHINGTON LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT...HAVING AREA-
WIDE IMPACTS FOR MUCH OF THANKSGIVING DAY. IN THE WAKE OF THIS
FIRST FRONT...COLDER AIR WILL ENTER THE AREA WHICH WOULD ALLOW
SNOW LEVELS TO FALL TO AROUND 2500 FEET...RESULTING IN SNOWFALL
BEGINNING TO ACCUMULATE IN THE MOUNTAIN PASSES. UP TO 3 INCHES OF
SNOWFALL IS POSSIBLE DURING THE DAY THANKSGIVING DAY...WITH UP TO
AN ADDITIONAL 6 INCHES POSSIBLE THROUGH FRIDAY IN ADVANCE OF THE
SECOND FRONT. CURRENT FORECASTS SUGGEST THAT TOTAL SNOWFALL
AMOUNTS FOR THE ENTIRE HOLIDAY WEEKEND WILL RANGE FROM 10 TO 15
INCHES ARE POSSIBLE IN THE MOUNTAIN PASSES. THOSE CROSSING THE CASCADES
FOR THE HOLIDAY ARE ENCOURAGED TO ALLOW EXTRA TIME AND PREPARE
THEMSELVES AND THEIR VEHICLE PROPERLY FOR THESE CONDITIONS.

IN ADDITION...THESE FRONTS WILL BRING BREEZY TO WINDY
CONDITIONS AND MORE RAIN FOR THE LOWLANDS. WINDS AHEAD OF AND
ALONG THE FIRST FRONT ARE EXPECTED TO BE STRONGEST ALONG THE
COAST...IN THE SAN JUANS...AND PORTIONS OF WHATCOM AND SKAGIT
COUNTIES WITH SPEEDS 20 TO 35 MPH AND GUSTS TO 50 MPH. REMAINING
LOCATIONS IN WESTERN WASHINGTON WILL STILL SEE WIND SPEEDS RANGING
15 TO 30 MPH WITH POSSIBLE GUSTS UP TO 40 MPH. WHILE RAINFALL
AMOUNTS DURING THIS TIME FRAME ARE NOT EXPECTED TO REACH VALUES
UNCOMMON FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR...THE COMBINATION OF RAIN WITH THE
AFOREMENTIONED WINDS IN ADDITION TO THE INCREASE IN TRAVEL
ASSOCIATED WITH THE HOLIDAY WILL CREATE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT MERIT
ADDITIONAL CAUTION. THE SECOND FRONT PASSING THROUGH THE AREA
FRIDAY WILL ALLOW FOR RAIN TO PERSIST INTO THE WEEKEND...ALTHOUGH
WIND SPEEDS ARE EXPECTED TO EASE SOME.

Heading into Costco tomorrow to pick up that computer and to get some other stuff done (paying bills and some banking).

Great news for Mt. Baker

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From the Bellingham Herald:

Mt. Baker Ski Area could open by the end of the week
It’s been snowing in the North Cascades, and that’s good news for skiers, snowboarders and other winter sports enthusiasts as officials at the Mt. Baker Ski Area are optimistic they will be able to open before the end of the week.

Snow has been falling steadily at the upper elevations since last week, and more snowfall is forecast nearly daily through the weekend, according to meteorologists at the National Weather Service and forecasters at the Northwest Avalanche Center, both in Seattle.

Some 8 to 9 inches of snow was on the ground Sunday at Heather Meadows, and 2 feet of snow at Pan Dome, at the top of the chair lift, said Gwyn Howatt, the ski area’s executive vice president

Very good news - summer is our biggest season at the store but ski season follows a close second.

Back from town - liking the new Costco

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It was very crowded as expected but I like the new layout - about 30% bigger. They now have a lot of pre-cooked food for dinners - mac & cheese, meatloaf, pot pies, etc... The gas station now carries diesel at about 30¢ /gallon cheaper than the cheapest places in town.

I had been looking at building a computer for photo and video editing and they have a special on a high-end gaming computer that looks really nice - high-end gaming systems require the same features that photo and video editing do - fast video, lots of memory and several disk drives. Checking prices online to see if this is actually the great deal that it looks like.

Picked up a bunch of chinese food for several dinners.

1,000 words on management

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Been the Aurochs, done that and got the face-poo:

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The outcome is that now, I think I know how to manage.  Got an incredible team of people working with me at Crossroads Grocery - love them all.

Plus, they have the good grace to fix me when I am wrong. This is a wonderful trait in an employee!!!

A photo taken at a liberal bookstore

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This photo was taken at Village Books in Fairhaven. A wonderful independent bookstore with a decent science and nature section but the store's customers are very liberal.

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I love the titles and that the shelves are empty. The fact that these cloud-people have to read a book in order to understand what the rest of America is thinking says a lot about their self-imposed isolation and general cluelessness...

Crap - shooting in Seattle

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From The Seattle Times:

5 shot in downtown Seattle at busy intersection
Five people were shot outside a convenience store in downtown Seattle Wednesday night, and the shooter is at large, police said.

Gunshots were reported shortly before 7 p.m. outside the 7-Eleven store on Third Avenue between Pike and Pine streets, at a major bus stop.

Witnesses said a group of people were arguing when the gunman began to walk away, and then turned around and fired into the crowd. At least one victim was a bystander, Seattle police Assistant Chief Robert Merner said.

A bit more:

There was an additional police presence in downtown Seattle because of an anti-Donald Trump rally, which started at Westlake Mall earlier in the evening.

The rally turned into a march and was proceeding down various streets at the time of the shootings, according to witnesses. Merner said the shooting is unrelated.

Merner is the Seattle police Assistant Chief - no ID on the shooter as far. I used to love Seattle, glad I do not live there any more.

Good news from the Washington coastline

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Clever design for a new school building - the reinforcements cost less than 15% more to build but the new school is a Tsunami shelter for up to 2,000 people. From Seattle station KING-TV

The lower walls are designed to collapse to lower the water resistance. From The Seattle Times:

‘It will happen here’: Washington Coast school builds nation’s first tsunami refuge
The first students to race up the stairs at Ocosta Elementary School’s new gym and tsunami refuge were so excited, it took teachers a while to corral them into orderly lines on the rooftop.

“It’s really cool to finally see kids up here,” Paula Akerlund said, as the third-graders jostled and joked and tried to peer over the tall parapet on a sunny spring afternoon.

Akerlund is superintendent of the Ocosta School District, headquartered near Westport a scant half-mile from the Pacific Ocean. On Saturday, she will preside over a dedication ceremony for what — on the outside — looks pretty much like any modern school complex.

What’s unique about this gym is mostly hidden from view: tons of concrete and steel that make it the first structure in the nation designed to withstand a tsunami and provide a safe haven from the rushing waters.

Very cool to hear about - it is not a matter of IF,it is a matter of WHEN and the better prepared we are, the more of us will survive and thrive.

Off to town - meeting at 5:30

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Heading into town - get a late lunch, do some shopping and then off to a 5:30PM meeting to debrief from The Great  Shakeout.

It will be interesting to see how we did. We had roving CERT teams with envelopes. When they reached a specific address, they would open that envelope and read out the supposed earthquake damage to that structure. This would be radioed to a stationary CERT person who filled out a standard radiogram (PDF file) and handed it over to a ham radio operator (that was my job) who relayed it to the local fire hall. The operator at the fire hall would then radio this information to the county Emergency Operations Center.

The people at the EOC had copies of the envelopes at their end so they could see if there was a game of telephone being played or if the information was being sent accurately.

It was fun and good practice - remember, not IF but WHEN

A moving experience

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Got the old freezer out and the new freezer in place - chilling down nicely, ready to stock tomorrow (want to make sure it stays at temp). Took the old freezer to the food bank - they are going to have to wire a line for it but this is a brand new building so this will not be an issue - plenty of capacity in the conduit.

Did not have time for my morning coffee so got it moved and running, went out for coffee and then came back and programmed it. Looks really nice with LED lighting and full digital control.

Working in a gold mine

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I was reading about a local mine and ran into this description:

Mining at the ****  was not for the timid or faint hearted.

Meltwater from snowfields and glaciers above the mine poured through production stopes and raises 2 to 3 feet wide at a rate of 500 gallons per minute during the summer months. During winter months, avalanches shot by on both sides of the camp quarters. Labor turnover was as high as 96 percent in September 1921. Krom reported the following observation: “Labor turnover was so rapid that it required the proverbial three crews — one coming, one working, and one leaving — to keep the mine in operation. Not uncommonly, men arrived and departed without having worked one full shift.”

This is a gold mine that is in a nearby mountain. The mine's entrance is in Canada and is pretty much inaccessible now - most trails and roads have been washed out.

Well, if the economy goes to pot, I can still dig and I own a pick and a wheelbarrow - nice to know there is gold in these hills...

Back from the shakeout

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I was on the air at 8:30AM and the rest of my crew showed up shortly after. We had a search team (two CERT volunteers) and a Team Leader and a Scribe - two other CERT volunteers and a fellow ham radio operator. It was a lot of fun despite it raining buckets - I had a propane heater running in the trailer so we were damp but warm. One of our search temates was ill so our Scribe went along (CERT always uses a buddy system when searching). Two of the teams had two search teams.

The search team had envelopes with specific addresses on them - when they reached the address, they would open the envelope and report the damage scenario to our team leader using the hand-held "Family" radio sets. The team leader wrote this down on an Incedent Report sheet and handed it to us hams and we reported them to the operator at the fire hall. The operator there then reported the incident to the Whatcom Emergency Operations Center.

What will be interesting is that the EOC has duplicates of each "inject" so they can compare the message they recieved with the actual contents of the inject. If there is a difference, then our communication and reporting skills need to be practiced.

Our EOC has a facebook page with some videos of the goings on. They are also doing an Ask Me Anything on Reddit.

Got up at 6:30 this morning - usually wake up around 10 or so so feeling a bit tired - probably take a nap later. The farrier is coming out to give Rockey his mani-pedi this afternoon.

The Columbus Day storm of 1962

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Great video on the Columbus Day storm of October 12, 1962 from The Oregonian and Portland station KGW:

Seattle station KING-5 also did this video:

Meet Typhoon Songda:

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This image was taken October 11 at about 8PM our time (PDT). From the NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team. She is due to make landfall somewhere along our coast sometime on Saturday.

Happy happy joy joy - UPDATE

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UPDATE at the bottom

From the National Weather Service Special Weather Statement:

...VERY STORMY WEATHER TO UNLEASH MULTIPLE IMPACTS ON WESTERN
WASHINGTON FROM THURSDAY THROUGH THE WEEKEND...

AN IMPRESSIVELY STORMY PERIOD IS COMING UP FOR WESTERN WASHINGTON
FROM THURSDAY THROUGH THE WEEKEND. THE MAIN IMPACTS WILL BE FROM
FLOOD-PRODUCING RAINFALL AND DAMAGING WINDS. ALONG THE COAST...
GIANT WAVES AND COASTAL FLOODING ARE POSSIBLE THIS WEEKEND.

RAIN WILL FIRST DEVELOP ACROSS WESTERN WASHINGTON TONIGHT...AND
BREEZY CONDITIONS WILL DEVELOP ALONG THE COAST.

HOWEVER...THE FIRST BIG INCREASE IN SOUTHERLY WIND WILL HAPPEN ON
THE COAST ON THURSDAY AFTERNOON...SPREADING INLAND ON THURSDAY
NIGHT. THIS WILL OCCUR FOLLOWING THE PASSAGE OF A DEEP LOW CENTER
THROUGH THE REGION. PLEASE REFER TO THE LATEST HIGH WIND WATCHES
AND WARNINGS FOR DETAILS ON THE THURSDAY NIGHT STORM. HEFTY
RAINFALL TOTALS ARE EXPECTED THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING...RAINFALL
AMOUNTS ARE EXPECTED TO BE: 1 TO 3 INCHES OVER THE INTERIOR
LOWLANDS...2 TO 5 INCHES ALONG THE COAST AND IN THE CASCADE
MOUNTAINS...AND 4 TO 8 INCHES OVER THE OLYMPIC MOUNTAINS. THIS
WILL CAUSE RISES ON AREA RIVERS...WITH FLOODING POSSIBLE ON A FEW.
REFER TO THE LATEST FLOOD BULLETINS FOR DETAILS.

FRIDAY WILL BE RAINY AND WINDY...BUT IT WILL SERVE AS A RELATIVE
LULL BEFORE A MORE POTENTIALLY DAMAGING STORM ON SATURDAY.

WE STILL HAVE MUCH TO LEARN ABOUT THE SATURDAY STORM. WHAT WE KNOW
IS THAT AN INCREDIBLY DEEP LOW PRESSURE CENTER...WITH ITS ORIGINS
TRACED BACK TO TYPHOON SONGDA IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC...WILL MOVE
INTO THE NORTHEAST PACIFIC AND PEAK IN STRENGTH ON SATURDAY.

WHAT REMAINS TO BE SEEN IS EXACTLY WHAT TRACK THE LOW CENTER WILL
TAKE. THIS WILL MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN HOW BADLY THIS STORM
IMPACTS WESTERN WASHINGTON. THERE IS A 1 IN 3 CHANCE OF THE LOW
CENTER DIRECTLY CROSSING SOME PART OF WESTERN WASHINGTON. THIS
WOULD BE A WORST CASE SCENARIO LEADING TO A HISTORICAL WINDSTORM
FOR NEARLY ALL OF WESTERN WASHINGTON THAT WOULD BE LONG
REMEMBERED.

THERE IS A 2 IN 3 CHANCE THAT THE LOW CENTER WILL PASS HUNDREDS OF
MILES OFF THE COAST...MAKING LANDFALL OVER CENTRAL OR NORTHERN
VANCOUVER ISLAND INSTEAD. THIS OUTCOME CONFINE THE MOST DAMAGING
WINDS TO THE COAST AND TO THE NORTH INTERIOR (AREAS NORTH OF
EVERETT)...BUT INLAND LOCATIONS SUCH AS THE PUGET SOUND REGION AND
THE I-5 CORRIDOR OF SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON WOULD EXPERIENCE THE TYPE
OF WINDSTORM THAT WOULD NORMALLY BE EXPECTED A FEW TIMES EACH
STORM SEASON. POWER OUTAGES AND TREE DAMAGE OVER INLAND LOCATIONS
WOULD BE LESS WIDESPREAD.

Ho. Li. Crap. Spending today and tomorrow battening down the hatches...

UPDATE: Cliff Mass has the goods - go here and read: Warning: Major Storms Threaten the Pacific Northwest

Here is just a small example of what is headed our way (click on image to embiggen):

20161012-storm.gif

A curious event at a local airport

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From the Bellingham Herald:

Bellingham airport evacuated after suspicious suitcase found
A suspicious suitcase left unattended on a sidewalk outside Bellingham International Airport led to a brief evacuation Sunday, Oct. 9 after screeners got a “positive swab for explosives.”

Bellingham Police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht said the swabs are preliminary swabs that have a reaction to an array of chemicals. If any one of those chemicals were present, then a reaction would have occurred.

Police sent a bomb squad to investigate the medium-sized black suitcase that was found in the passenger pick-up area at about 3:30 p.m. About 300 passengers in the airport were evacuated and a bomb robot was used to x-ray the suitcase. It was empty.

The airport resumed normal operations after about two hours. Passengers were allowed back into the pre-screening and check-in areas, though several flights were delayed.

That the suitcase was empty raises a big red flag for me. Was someone probing the airport in preparation for an attack? They would have left the suitcase empty so as to minimize any incriminating evidence - DNA from skin cells, etc... Crap like this is a little too close to home.

Was checking the weather service and saw a Special Weather Statement which read:

WAZ567-568-061200-
CASCADES OF WHATCOM AND SKAGIT COUNTIES-
CASCADES OF SNOHOMISH AND KING COUNTIES-
307 PM PDT WED OCT 5 2016

...6 TO 12 INCHES OF SNOW EXPECTED OVER THE NORTH CASCADES ABOVE
6000 FEET ON THURSDAY NIGHT AND FRIDAY MORNING...

STEADY PRECIPITATION WILL SPREAD INTO THE NORTH CASCADES AFTER
SUNSET ON THURSDAY, BECOMING INTENSE DURING THE OVERNIGHT HOURS ON
THURSDAY NIGHT. WITH A FORECAST SNOW LEVEL NEAR 6000 FEET, THIS
WILL AMOUNT TO MODERATE AND HEAVY SNOW AMOUNTS FOR HIGH
ELEVATIONS. FROM THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING, 6 TO 12
INCHES OF SNOW ARE EXPECTED ABOVE 6000 FEET FROM THE GLACIER PEAK
AREA NORTH TO THE CANADIAN BORDER, INCLUDING HARTS PASS.

THOSE VENTURING INTO THE BACKCOUNTRY, INCLUDING HIKERS ALONG THE
PACIFIC CREST TRAIL, NEED TO BE PREPARED FOR THIS EARLY SEASON
SNOW OVER THE HIGH COUNTRY.

Truck blogging

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At the dealership getting an oil and filter change. Brought the laptop.

Off to town this morning

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Got to return the trailer and stuff to the rental place. Heading home and then heading back to Bellingham for a 6:00PM class on damage assessment.

The 20th of October is the Great Shakeout and I will be in a communications team at one of the Bellingham fire halls practicing Incident Command Structure.

This year's activities will incorporate some of the Cascadia Rising drill we did this spring - 80% of that went really well, got to fine-tune the other 20%

Back home again - hic!

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Had a pint at the North Fork and toasted my two friends on their way. They just bought a 30' motor-home so they will be travelling to the East in style.

Surf for a bit and then to work tomorrow - a nagging electrical issue at the store so one of the items I picked up at the rental place was a top-of-the-line wire locator. I have used this unit before and it is amazing. If they weren't $1,800 I would get one.

Great meeting tonight

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Had about 70 people show up and to get that kind of crowd out here is amazing. There is a website being developed and I will post a link when that goes live but basically, because of unfair redistricting, our County Council has six very progressive members and one conservative one. The progressives are trying to pass as much regulatory bu**shit as possible so they can deny businesses and development they don't like and ignore the rules for businesses that they do like.

Time to rise up.

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