Seattle, WA -- Forecasters began warning of Pineapple Express weather effects early last spring, and the recent rounds of wet weather and freezing rain ushered in with the New Year were no surprise. Weather fronts rolled in?but disasters didn't. Images of flooded roads, snowed-in mountain passes, power shortages and icy roads were aired nation-wide. But for the most part, as the passes clear and rains cease, damage has been minimal. According to Federal Emergency Management Agency deputy regional director Tammy Doherty, the Pacific Northwest is more disaster-resistant than it has ever been - and getting better all the time.
"In terms of increased flood insurance, more effective flood plain management policies and aggressive mitigation efforts, we've come a long way since the 1996-97 Winter Storms," said Doherty. "I don't mean to trivialize the experiences of those who did indeed experience storm damage, and we can't forget that winter is officially less than a few weeks old. But so far, weather effects have been local, and have been very effectively dealt with, locally."
Doherty was quick to point out that our flood season is far from over, and that regional natural hazards include earthquake and attendant tsunamis, and volcano/lahars risk. "On the mitigation front we (all of us) need to hold the ground we've won, and continuously upgrade our preparedness posture."