Icy glaze snarls roads

December 21, 2005

The glaze this week was on the roads instead of the Christmas cake where it belonged.

Six inches of snow snuck into the Gorge Sunday night, and fluctuating temperatures on Monday yielded an icy recipe for danger.

“Treacherous,” is how Hood River Police Chief Bruce Ludwig described the streets that received a thin coating of ice after temperatures spiked above freezing briefly — and then dropped again — on Monday afternoon.

“We have experienced a number of fender—bender accidents,” Ludwig said. “We spent a lot of time directing traffic at critical intersections.”

The glaze covered the sand that was on the roads, requiring a second treatment.

Police and sheriff’s officers guided cars one-by-one up and down 9th street, near State, getting help from passersby to help push some cars.

“It caught people off guard, got above freezing and then dipped right down,” Sgt. Gerry Tiffany of Hood River County Sheriff said.

“It was just a hazardous freezing rain,” he said.

Ludwig cautioned that the gravel itself could cause a road hazard once the ice thaws, the grit itself becoming slippery. Police, Sheriff and Oregon State Police reported no serious accidents on any of the roads or freeways.

“We’re very fortunate: people have slowed down,” said Lt. Patrick Ashmore of Oregon State Police.

He reported a dozen crashes on Interstate 84 between Cascade Locks and The Dalles Monday and Tuesday, none with serious injury.

Trucks got stuck on the “Button Bridge” on Highway 35 just above Exit 64, and two trucks jackknifed on one of the Memaloose State Park exits just before noon Tuesday.

Tiffany and Ludwig both praised the work of the city and county road crews for their attack with layers of sand where needed.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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