Orchards ok after January storm

February 25, 2012

While majestic firs tumbled and mighty oaks snapped like small twigs, most Hood River fruit trees remained relatively unscathed during the mid-January cataclysmic ice storm.

"I don't see a lot of overall damage," said Tim Pearson, field representative at Stadlelman's, "mostly a limb here and a tree there. There were isolated incidents where some growers suffered a significant amount of damage - mainly in the Dee area."

Concurring with Pearson, Jean Godfrey, Columbia Gorge Fruit Growers Association executive director, noted that she had reports of serious tree loss from growers in Dee and the Binns Hill area.

"They lost quite a few trees - maybe about 10 percent - but when you look at the cost to replace those trees and the loss of production from downed mature trees, we are still taking about real impact," Godfrey said.

"We are working to collect information on those losses and passing it on to Dave Meriwether at the county. He is working with FEMA and we'll see if there will be help for our growers," she said.

On the positive side, Godfrey noted that her field representative reports from around the valley confirm that temperatures during the storm did not get cold enough to cause bud damage.

"The buds were dormant and temperatures weren't that cold," said Pearson. "If buds were encased in ice, they were staying at a steady 32 degrees. When it gets into the teens and below, that's when people get worried."

"We are about to head into frost season, though," said Godfrey. That is when emerging buds might suffer if temperatures dip again.

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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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