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December 12, 2007

Weather outside: Frightful
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 01:19 PM *

But the fire is so delightful.

That’s a snowmobile burning on the trail, last March. The picture is taken from this page, photos from the Colebrook Ski-Bees, one of the local snowmobile clubs.

We have twelve to fifteen inches of snow on the ground, and it’s snowing right now. Looks like this’ll be a good year. The last two years, we didn’t have much snow before Christmas. Given that the folks whose business depends on tourists make between a third and a half of their annual income in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, that was hard on the local economy. Think of it as a two crop failures back-to-back.

But this year, hurrah! Looks like it’s the snow that’ll stick. And if you check out the depth map (and the web cam pictures) on this page (where you can also hear The Snowmobile Song by Stompin’ Tom Connors), taken from the Pittsburg Ridge Runners website, you can see that we have some of the best conditions in New England.

The trails officially opened this past weekend. I expect that we’re going to see a pretty good number of folks starting next week. Come, snowmobilers! We love you!

Now to go shovel the driveway (again)….

Update: Useful Links

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Comments on Weather outside: Frightful:
#1 ::: JDC ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 01:20 PM:

Snowmobiling is one of those things that I was sure I was going to hate. Oh man was I wrong. They are great aside from the noise (which is a pretty big aside though I haven't experienced anything made this century). If someone made a snowmobile that was as quiet as cross country skiing I'd move WAY north. I need a fuel-cell powered snow mobile!

#2 ::: Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 01:57 PM:

Whenever someone here in Boston greets my stated desire to move to the Pacific Northwest with a "But it rains so much out there," I respond, "You don't have to shovel rain."

(Admittedly, you might have to pump it out, or [more recently] attempt to drag what's left of your comic-book collection from the sodden wreck of what was once your house, but still....)

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 01:59 PM:

So, Jim: Fewer failed businesses, less unemployment, more money, people keeping busy in constructive ways = fewer of those messy EMT calls involving people you know?

#4 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 02:01 PM:

Big Bear got eight inches last weekend. My boss went up there, and showed us some pictures. Also he described all the cars in the roadside ditches where the snow had melted and turned to ice, before the surface got cold.

#5 ::: Tara ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 02:02 PM:

In our town -- same latitude as Colebrook, three hours due west -- mothers pick up their kids at the bus stop on snowmobiles. It's those mile-long rural driveways that no one wants to walk in the wind chill.

We don't have a snowmobile yet, so I waited at the bus stop with the tractor mower. Apparently, any small motorized vehicle will do when it comes to fourth-grade coolness, whether it's in season or not.

#6 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 02:05 PM:

When I was in fourth grade, I would have thought a riding lawnmower was mega-cool.

#7 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 02:09 PM:

We have ice. Very pretty ice, covering each twig, each stubborn leaf, each bunch of needles, but ice. Rain yesterday, too, which turned into ice and/or stayed on top of the ice.
Our weather needs some fluffiness to it. Sigh.

#8 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 02:11 PM:

#3 Teresa: ...fewer of those messy EMT calls involving people you know?

Right! And more of the trauma calls involving people I don't know!

Words of advice on that: Trees are not the preferred method of bringing your snowmobile to a stop, and internally mounted alcohol is a bad idea (see above, trees).

#9 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 02:21 PM:

Inquiring minds want to know: how did this post get made tomorrow but show up today?

#10 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 02:23 PM:

Due to the miracle of typing 13 in the wrong blank (meant to be the time, not the day. 1300....)

I'll go fix it.

#11 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 02:33 PM:

Teresa @ #6, when I was 16 and it was my responsibility to mow our non-level 3/4-acre lot, the used riding lawnmower we purchased was way cool. I didn't need to be younger to appreciate it.

#12 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 02:44 PM:

We only had half an acre, but there was a substantial hill, and I had to use an electric mower to mow it. No wheel power, and gods help you if you mowed over the cord.

#13 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 02:50 PM:

Something for Jim, and one of the many reasons why I'm always careful when I'm out snowmachining:

From a local employer's January 2001 newsletter:

An unusual snow-machine accident just before Christmas put [redacted] in the hospital for more than three weeks. A three-and-a-half-inch diameter aspen tree plunged completely through [redacted]’s chest after he was thrown off his machine when it hit an obstruction in the trail. He and two friends had been riding their machines near the Old Richardson Highway. Amazingly, as medics used chain saws to cut off lengths of the 16-foot-long tree, [redacted] remained conscious. “I was just trying to keep my cool,” he recalls quietly. [Redacted] underwent more than 20 hours of surgery in three sessions. Doctors removed three ribs to extract the wood from his body. [redacted] also lost part of a lung and his spleen.

All the newspaper accounts I can quickly find are behind paywalls. But, my point is -- be careful out there!

#14 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 02:53 PM:


We haven't gotten into the teens of inches - but by the 7th, we had gotten more snow in this December than we had all last December - and a significant portion of January as well - with only 8 - 10 inches of average snowfall in the area.

#15 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 03:11 PM:

We had a third of an acre* and a push mower. Muscle power, none of this wimpy electricity or gas for us, no sirree!

*Most of which did not need mowing.

#16 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 03:24 PM:

What is this snow of which you speak?

#17 ::: Ulrika O'Brien ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 03:52 PM:

Michael @ #2 - to avoid flooding, don't live on a flood plain. There are lots of hills to live on in the PNW, and being built on bedrock is better for earthquake safety anyhow. Double win.

We do get snow, but not normally in shovelling quantities. More like, quick-get-the-camera-before-it-melts quantities.

#18 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 03:55 PM:

Tania: there's another one for the "believe it or not" files.

Ever notice that no one mentions spleens except to say they've been removed?

Jim: your conscience is clear. You'd send them a book and encourage them to stay home and read it, if you only knew who they were.

#19 ::: Terry (still in Germany) ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 03:59 PM:

When I was a kid I had a push mower. We had a half acre of grass.

It tended to be allowed to get long.

As for weather, here has been pathetic. Where is the snow to justify the saccharine versse of O Tannebaum?

Not even a decent day of sunshine. Just boggy rain, and teases of crytal clear nights, with hints of snow. All of which fails to turn into decent weather.

#20 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:00 PM:

I've had more conversations involving spleens and mono than spleens and surgery. Then again, mono is rampant in high schools and colleges, so it may be environmental.

#21 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:02 PM:

Even in college, I associated spleens more with surgery than with mono, because one of my closest friends had to have an overactive one removed.

#22 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:13 PM:

Teresa 18: Ever notice that no one mentions spleens except to say they've been removed?

Or vented.

#23 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:15 PM:

Spleens are occasionally vented, presumably not physically.

In fact, I often do that, particularly when our illustrious president makes a speech.

#24 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:37 PM:

Teresa @ 18 -
Ever notice that no one mentions spleens except to say they've been removed?

I dunno, Spleen seems like one of those "inherently funny" words - "I'll eat yer SPLEEN!" is funny. "I'll eat yer HEART!" is piratey.

(Gizzard is another inherently funny word).

#25 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:45 PM:

I once invented an organ for a fictional alien species that combined the properties of a lung and a spleen; of course, I called it the SPLUNG.

#26 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:13 PM:

NelC, 25: Splung? I thought that was the sound of a malfunctioning nipple.

#27 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:52 PM:

This will be my third winter in Olde New England and it's shaping up to be a lot... colder and whiter.... than the last couple have.

I am definitely going to be tired of looking at this by February or so, if it doesn't melt off.

On the other hand, I'm still in the "oooooh, ICICLES!" phase of hibernal acclimation.

#28 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 06:07 PM:

I remember when the guy got impaled on the 16' aspen. Word of that went shooting around the EMS/Snowmobile Rescue world, and everyone's instant reaction was "Woo! Cool!"

#29 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:45 PM:

Thena #27, for those wanting to speed up hibernal acclimation, one of my contacts on Flickr has some lovely photos of winter in North America. If you need something to cheer you up in the grey & dark days, there are brighter & sunnier ones taken in your summer that you can browse through too.

#30 ::: Melissa (oddharmonic) ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:46 PM:

'Splung' is the noise my sewing machine makes when I accidentally sew over a pin.

#31 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:53 PM:

Yesterday's high in Athens GA: 78 degrees (tied the record). We're also on track for 2007 to be the driest year on record.

No snow around here, boss.

#32 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 08:11 PM:

It's snowing outside right now. Go snow!

I have the annual snowmachine trip to the edge of nowhere coming up in a few weeks, the annual excursion here. I'm one excited snowmachine driver.

#33 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 08:45 PM:

So why do people have so many heart attacks while shoveling snow? Does the cold bump up the blood pressure?

Steve (in currently snowless Sugar Land).

#34 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 09:33 PM:

Lila #31: The warm weather's fine, but rain would be even more welcome. I can't recall more than the merest dusting of snow the past few winters.

#35 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 10:17 PM:

I could probably look this up, but: what does a spleen do when it's in proper condition? I mean, it can't just be the medical-show-plot-device organ, right?

Steve C. @ 33 -- somebody with better knowledge will probably have to correct me, but:
Wet snow is surprisingly heavy. People who take no regular exercise go out and do the equivalent of a hundred squats or deadlifts in quick succession, with perhaps forty pounds of weight on the end of a stick and heavy winter clothes. And no rest in between sets.

It's not the cold -- it's the unaccustomed exercise.

#36 ::: Terry (still in Germany) ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 12:04 AM:

As I recall it has a role in the recycling of red blood cells

#37 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 01:24 AM:

I read an account of how the Canadian Mounties had found snowmobiles a big improvement over dog-sleds.

One safety feature: a pin plugged into the dashboard, attached to the driver with a cord. If the driver falls off the machine, the pin is pulled, and the snowmobile comes to a stop. You can easily ride into the woods much further than you'd want to walk back, and you don't want your ride taking off without you.

The downside of the snowmobile in comparison to the dogsled: if you are in an extreme survival situation, you can't eat a snowmobile.

#38 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 03:42 AM:

Rob, I'd add two other things to why dogs are better than machines.

1) You could, if you had to, have the dogs sleep with you for warmth.

2) If a dog is injured you can throw it in the basket and keep on going with a reduced team. If your machine fails*, you might be seriously hosed.

*Who, me? Have a clutch fail on a snowmachine? Of course not . . . Must be some other Tania.

#39 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 08:24 AM:

If you've got snow I envy you. But we have had a string of crystal cold days when the frost hasn't come off all day...and the sky is perhaps.

#40 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 09:26 AM:

The snow gauge in the webcam on the Pittsburg page is 3 feet, 3 inches tall. The marks are two inches apart -- odd numbers on the left, even numbers on the right.

People do have those heart attacks from unaccustomed exercise, often in harsh conditions. (We've already had our first snow-shoveling-related-AMI-of-the-season.)

(People who try to clear jammed snowblowers by sticking their hands inside are a whole-'nother source of emergency medical interest.)

Your spleen is a blood reservoir. It has a function in recycling red cells, and in infection control. In the case of a ruptured spleen--it's highly vascular (which is the medical term for "bleeds like crazy"). Enough spleen cells seem to get away and attach themselves to other abdominal organs to carry out a lot of the spleen's function in adults.

#41 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 11:00 AM:

Picturesque (sparkly!) hard frost here, while the mountains got snow a lot earlier than the recent drought years, so it all seems pleasantly wintry from a nice warm room.

Our one meager snowfall so far has melted, but December on my Japanese print calendar has a lovely Hiroshige of a snowy mountain village. And aside from my view of distant snows, various nearby birds seem quite happy with the frosty morning: finches, sparrows, and the occasional raven (generally flapping madly with no thermals to ride). It's enough to produce a good "seasonal" mood -- as long as I avoid the news.

#42 ::: inge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 12:35 PM:

Terry @ 19: Still in Grafenwoehr? That place was otherwise occupied when the options for good weather were handed out.

#43 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 06:42 PM:

Galdurned snow.

It just took me three hours to drive home from work. It usually takes me twenty minutes to walk home from work.

#44 ::: Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 11:29 PM:

"The downside of the snowmobile in comparison to the dogsled: if you are in an extreme survival situation, you can't eat a snowmobile."

Upside: Your snowmobile cannot eat itself.

I actually know a guy who once had to walk about sixty cold February miles up the Yukon River (hungry) because his dogs (also hungry) ate the babiche (rawhide lashing) off his dogsled, reducing it to a bundle of unrelated birch sticks.

He apparently never quite got hungry enough to eat his dogs -- or, if he did, he doesn't tell that part of the story.

#45 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 11:56 PM:

Our 'next step' is apparently coming tomorrow but it will be snow. And only on the Friday/Saturday nightside. We'll deal.

We lucked out on the ice, apparently it stayed enough above freezing during the rainy portion of the exercise to glaze the trees but only with less than .25-inch of ice. Today was interesting, it got up to the upper 30s AND was very sunny. Sounded like it was raining outside, only it was chunky rain with whaps and bams in it.

The roads are fine now , my driveway, deck and walk (the most treacherous part of this whole episode) have been salt-treated twice. (Saturday the 8th Margene and I were planning on going to see an IMAX movie and lunch at Union Station, I went out and found I couldn't stay standing while trying to de-ice the cars, our driveway, which is lumpy/bad concrete/gravel mix was Too Icy,)

#46 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 03:35 PM:

While you can eat your dogs if necessary, you can also build snares with the wiring from your snowmobile to catch rabbits and squirrels.

#47 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 03:40 PM:

This morning at the train station the TV news was showing us pictures of Keene. I was not envying them.

#48 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 04:37 PM:

The rumor up Far North was that artic hares ate artic foxes as part of the diet (Arctic hares are ENORMOUS. If you've ever seen a German White giant rabbit, that's getting towards the size of an arctic hare--the hares are BIGGER than the foxes are.

I saw a piece of cultural dissonance up in the artic--a snowmobile pulling a dogsled.

#49 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 07:30 PM:

I am not sure exactly how much snow we got here, but our five-year-old left school on a bus at 1:15 Thursday and got home at 8:35.
The last five minutes from 8:30 to 8:35 were spent in walking up the street to our house, as the road was at that time doubtful for ordinary cars trying to drive up it. The exception to this was the car belonging to the fellow across the street who apparently went for pizza, whose car was propelled over the steep bit by sheer stiff-neckedness and pineapple/ham lust.

#50 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 07:48 PM:

Our next blast of Winter hits Saturday night - when we have a winter storm warning going into effect until Monday morning.

Yippee, he said dejectedly.

#51 ::: Hector Owen ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 08:36 PM:

About 6 to 8 inches here in southern Rhode Island. To the tune of "Old Time Religion:"
Gimme that old global warming,
Gimme that old global warming,
Gimme that old global warming
[spoken] where is it?,
It's good enough for me!

#52 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 10:35 PM:

Oh, Hector...warm globally, wacky weather locally.

#53 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 11:21 PM:

Global warming means more energy in the system means more extreme weather.

#54 ::: Hector Owen ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 11:27 PM:

Oh, Xopher, I'd just as soon warm locally, a nice fire in the fireplace, a down comforter, "warm sweetie to embrace" rhymes with fireplace, may be on to something here. Start of another song, perhaps? It's not like I hadn't thought about it much.

#55 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 12:45 AM:

It's supposed to sleet here tomorrow afternoon, which would be fine if I could walk on sleet or we didn't have bookgroup tomorrow.

#56 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 11:25 PM:

And the sleet started just as I got out of the van at home, so I got to go to bookgroup!

#57 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2007, 09:47 AM:

In Ottawa, the snowfall started last night and has just started getting heavy. The forecast is for a total accumulation of 20 to 30 cm, with local amounts of 40 to 50 cm, with strong gusty winds causing blowing snow, whiteout conditions, and drifts.

People are being advised to avoid unnecessary travel. I'm currently scheduled to drive a couple of folks to the airport, right in the middle of the mess. The flight is currently flagged as "on time" but we'll see if that continues. I'll make sure I've got some emergency supplies in the car if I do end up going.

I guess we're making up for last year, when I was bicycling on almost-clear streets well into January.

#58 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2007, 10:17 AM:

The second Boston snowstorm in four days appears to be winding down. So far the roads have not been cleared.

I imagine the governor and mayor are thankful that this one didn't happen on a work day. Just about the entire media went after them Friday ... and when you have two politicians who are not exactly popular at the moment, angry commuters are not going to give them much leeway.

#59 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2007, 10:56 AM:

#18 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden:

Ever notice that no one mentions spleens except to say they've been removed?

Does anyone else remember alt.spleen?

#60 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2007, 11:28 AM:

Jon@58: the between time was wonderful, though; I went skiing yesterday for the first time in 7 years, in conditions better than I found my last time in Colorado. Even better, somehow not many other people figured this out -- the lines were \short/ on a weekend day on an easily-reachable mountain (Wachusett). Now all I have to do is shovel crusted snow from ~120' of walk...

#61 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2007, 12:04 PM:

I've been passing my time learning to read METARs, and using the traffic cams to check the weather -- definitely not looking forward to having to shovel later today - presuming I can get the door open!

#62 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2007, 02:25 PM:

On a much lighter note, we've been having torrential rains and high winds again in Hawaii. Lost power to our neighborhood the last two nights in a row; the first night large chunks of the city was out. I'll take this over the snow though; had enough of that growing up in Michigan and then living in Chicago.

#63 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2007, 03:02 PM:

Teresa @ 18: I remember seeing posters at Minicons for "Amalgamated Spleen".

#64 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2007, 10:20 PM:

Ulrika O'Brian, interesting concept there, bedrock in the PNW, but here in the Puget Sound area bedrock is an average of 1500 feet down from the top of the glacial sediments.

Even in areas where one is on bedrock, bad things can happen in flood conditions: if you know West Lynn, Oregon, it might be instructive to look into what happened to the rst of Lynn.

The worst damage in the Chehalis floods were people who lived "out in the hills" but, unfortunately, downhill and downstream from big clearcuts (Adna and the Boisfort Valley, for instance) and not so much on what is defined as the Chehalis flood plain- the section of freeway which was flooded is on the 10 year flood plain, and has often flooded before, but the brand-new certified organic dairy which lost hundreds of milk cows and the cheesemaker who lost his herd of milk sheep were in areas which rarely flood at all, and where the rapid rise and velocity of the flood was unlike anything in memory.

Smugly saying "don't build on flood-plains" "don't build in hurricane zones" "don't build in tornado alley" "don't build on earthquake faults" "don't build in the way of wildfires" is a way of ducking the uncomfortable truth that everyone lives in the way of natural hazards: they're different according to where you live, there are better and worse choices to make (personally, I'm pretty sure that the people building a new house next to a place where a landslide has knocked a house into the street and left the foundation full of giant boulders is a bad idea but hey, Laurel Canyon) but a place that is safe for a few hundred years can be knocked flat by lahars (Herculaeum) or tidal waves (locally, Ozette Village).

It is also true, especially in southwest Washington, that the high ground has its own problems- the Willapa and Black Hills are heavily eroded marine basalt, layers of black rock floating on iron-rich red clay, prone to regular massive landslides. And much of the high ground is still in timber production, unavailable to residential development for that reason alone.

(You will note I excluded "do not build on sandy beaches" from my list: this was intentional and meaningful. The ocean always wins).

#65 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2007, 05:01 PM:

Mudslides on Stillman Creek, Willapa Hills, Weyerhaeuser clearcut. Upper drainage of the south fork of the Chehalis.

The rainfall event which caused the flooding in this area dropped 20 inches in 24 hours.

#66 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2007, 12:49 AM:

Wow. Look at that blank slope.

#67 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2007, 01:07 PM:

Relevant to some of Jim's earlier posts:
Woman found in tow yard died soon after crash, officials say
The car, driven by Steven Williams, 48, also of Paso Robles, tore through the back of a stucco building and shattered wood supports and plaster. His mother was in the passenger seat. Her body, apparently hidden by an inflated air bag, was not discovered until Sunday, after relatives reported her missing.

"I'm confident that no one saw a body in there, but the question is why they didn't see it," said Deputy Chief Michel Moore, who is overseeing the Los Angeles Police Department's investigation of the incident.

The state Emergency Medical Services Authority has launched a separate probe to determine whether Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics properly evaluated the accident and provided appropriate care to Steven Williams.

"When questioned if anyone else was in the vehicle, the driver indicated there was no one else," Moore said. "He was conscious, he was breathing, and he was able to respond to questions."

A key question, however, is whether Williams understood what rescuers were asking.

Under Fire Department medical protocols, paramedics have to determine a patient's level of awareness and assess whether he may be impaired by trauma caused from accidents.

State investigators will focus, in part, on how the paramedics assessed Williams and whether they "failed to fully evaluate the scene," said Dr. Cesar Aristeiguieta, director of the EMS authority.

The agency regulates paramedics and can suspend or revoke their licenses for violating medical care standards.
[snipped, emphasis mine]

The accident was Saturday morning. Apparently she died shortly - 'within a few minutes' - after the accident, but they haven't given a cause yet.

#68 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2007, 01:12 PM:

You'd think that DNR and the timber companies would have learned something from the slide in the nineties that wiped out seven miles of Washington 4 near Cathlamet, but this slide, and the one which stomped Clatskanie, Oregon, in the same storm (not to mention repeated block slides on 101 north of Hoodsport) were all on either new clearcuts or single-species reforestation projects less than ten years old, as was the earlier, well studied slide.

Highly reactive basement rock + active orogeny + high average rainfall = unstable slopes prone to catastrophic slides. It's a special case application of Smith's First Law of Civil Engineering: Water always runs down hill.

Of course without the high rainfall you end up with the situation John McPhee describes in Control of Nature when he talks about the fire/landslide cycle in the LA Basin.

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