Thursday, April 16, 2015

What Is That Giant Bright Ball In The Sky?

With local temperatures reaching almost 80 degrees by the end of the week soggy residents of the Pacific  Northwest will gravitate towards the warm glow of the long awaited spring sun.  Even though the weather this winter has been unseasonably mild the first 80 degree day is something to celebrate.

As a lifelong Pacific Northwestern-er I have endured many "web foot" jokes and inquires on how I could enjoy living in such a grey and dreary place.  It is no accident that the TV show Grim chose Portland as it's backdrop, /grim/ adjective: forbidding or uninviting.  If you were to visit this region on a random day in late November you may wonder what all of the hype is about.  You would most likely be met by a constant drizzle, aka light rain and cool temperatures.  If you are planning to visit the area within the next week you will understand why we welcome the spring sun so enthusiastically.

I don't want to rain on your parade, but as an Emergency Manager it is my responsibility to say "Have fun in the sun, but..."  As you rush out the door take precautions to protect yourselves from some of the hazards often associated with warm spring weather.  I'm not telling you not to go enjoy the sun, but just take a monument to ensure you do it safely.

Keep the Cars Cool

Every year we warn about not leaving children and/or pets in cars without proper ventilation.  With temperatures at 83 degrees, even the windows rolled down 2 inches, the temperature inside the car can reach 109 degrees in only 15 minutes.  Your car literally becomes an oven where serious injury and death can occur within minutes.  Please plan your day in advance to avoid leaving pets and children in hot cars.

Warning, The Water You Are About to Enjoy Is Cold

Every spring there are news stories about accidents on the water.  Though there are numerous causes of these accidents most could have been preventable.  This weekend swimmers and boaters will flock to the watering holes throughout the region.  Some general reminders about water safety include, but are not limited to:

  • Always wear a personal flotation device
  • Test water temperature before taking the "leap of faith"
  • Closely monitor children, form a "buddy system"
  • Drink alcoholic beverages responsibly
  • Beware of rocks just below the water's surface
  • Apply ample sunscreen often
I hope everyone has an amazing weekend.  Despite my warnings of some key isolated situations spring is a glorious time of year in the region.   I am hoping that we don't end the weekend with news stories about sad accidents in the sun.   Take the time to plan ahead to help ensure everyone has a great time in the sun, and save a spot for me!

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