Winter Watch

Storm could strike anytime

One week ago we issued a "Friendly Reminder" regarding the clearing of snow from around the posts holding mailboxes and paper tubes. That way, postal and newspaper carriers would have an easier time delivering news and information.

Since then, the snow has melted away and all but a few rugged ridges remain at corners and along buildings. Things seem to have evened out. Then, Crystal Noyes of Hood River wrote this newspaper with a warning of the dangers she believes students face in riding school buses. She cited the Nov. 28 incident in which a bus slid off Indian Creek Road, asking, "is this a safe way to get children to and from school?"

The answer, essentially, is "yes," though it is always a parent's discretion to send their child to school in case of inclement weather. The school district has maintained its 1.25 million-mile accident-free record, a remarkable rolling achievement.

Yet Noyes is right to point out what she calls "an annual problem," of students forced to "wake up and trudge through the snow, slush and ice to get to their bus stops." That is, winter always brings its hazards.

Preparations and precautions are in order.

Exactly 20 years ago, this newspaper succinctly described the first snowfall that year as causing "more headaches than emergencies."

That describes what we have seen so far this year, but the next snowstorm might bring more than inconvenience. Questions such as how safe are our children in these situations should be paramount. School officials were frustrated at the number of high school students who drove to work in the snow, causing traffic snarls near the high school.

The subtle reminders of winter's pending power are all around us: snow warnings were issued in the western Gorge Monday morning, though little or no snow fell. With ample supplies already covering the Mt. Hood ski slopes, it stands to reason that the lowlands will have days of white.

Drive around the steep hills around Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital and near the downtown area. At street corners in those areas, the city has left the some reminders of what is likely to come again.

The portable, orange-striped barriers, which mark snow-closed streets, lean against power poles, stand waiting their turn. It's prudent of the city to leave them in a handy position, ready for the next storm. They will be needed again, soon.

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Latest video:

Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive

The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge

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