Emergency

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Safety Corridor Sees First Fatal Collision in Years as Project Gears Up

Posted By on Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 4:52 PM

A photo-simulation of proposed undercrossing at the Indianola Cutoff, one of the most dangerous safety corridor intersections. - COURTESY OF CALTRANS
  • Courtesy of Caltrans
  • A photo-simulation of proposed undercrossing at the Indianola Cutoff, one of the most dangerous safety corridor intersections.
Even on an already notorious section of road, the Indianola Cutoff on U.S. Highway 101 stands out as a dangerous crossing point, with a collision rate 200 percent higher the state averages.

Anyone who has lived in Humboldt County long enough likely knows the story of the safety corridor, with the short version being that a succession of horrific accidents led to the special designation in 2002.

In the five years prior, there had been 85 accidents along the 5-mile stretch between Eureka and Arcata, including five fatal crashes, with the vast majority — 83 percent — occurring at one of roadway’s intersection, according to a Caltrans report.

Interim measures to reduce the collision rate were implemented — including a headlights-on requirement and lowering the speed limit from 60 mph to the current 50 mph.

Still, accidents continue to occur on the short span, the most heavily traveled of any highway in Caltrans District 1, which includes the counties of Del Norte, Lake and Mendocino.

On Jan. 14, William Clymer was killed while attempting to turn onto the Indianola Cutoff from the southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 101. His GMC Jimmy was hit on the passenger side by a vehicle traveling northbound and overturned. He was 42.

According to CHP Officer Paul Craft, Clymer’s death marks the first fatal car crash along the stretch in at least five years, although there have been countless accidents and close calls.

A month earlier, another car overturned at the same intersection, sending at least one person to the hospital.


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Friday, January 17, 2020

UDPATE: Outage Due to Down Transmission Line, PG&E Says Restoration Likely by Late Morning

Posted By on Fri, Jan 17, 2020 at 7:12 AM

UPDATE:
According to the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services, PG&E has confirmed that the cause of this morning’s widespread power outage is a transmission line impacted by winter weather.

“PG&E has stated that restoration work has already begun and that most of Humboldt County should regain power by mid-late morning,” OES wrote in a Facebook post.

PREVIOUSLY:
A widespread power outage hit much — if not all — of Humboldt County early this morning for unknown reasons.

PG&E is working to find the cause of the outages, which began to hit around 5:40 a.m., according to the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services. Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal says the county is in touch with PG&E but because the company doesn’t know the cause of the outage or the location of any potential equipment failure, there is no timetable for restoration.
screen_shot_2020-01-17_at_7.04.25_am.png
While this is not a planned Public Safety Power Shutoff, the outage is widespread enough that the Humboldt County Office of Education is updating its school closures spreadsheet, which can be found here.

OES advises residents to only call law enforcement for police, fire and medical needs and emergencies, and to direct any outage related inquiries to PG&E.

We’ll update with more information as we get it.
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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Eureka Man Killed in 101 Crash

Posted By on Wed, Jan 15, 2020 at 11:54 AM

A Eureka man was killed last night in a crash on the U.S. Highway 101 safety corridor.

According to CHP, William Clymer, 42, was attempting to turn onto the Indianola Cutoff from the southbound lanes when his GMC Jimmy was hit on the passenger side by a vehicle traveling northbound and overturned. 
chp.jpg


Emergency personnel responded to the 6:10 p.m. crash and Clymer was pronounced dead at the scene despite attempts to provide medical aid.

Neither the driver nor the passenger in the other vehicle was injured. All of the parties involved were wearing seatbelts and alcohol is not believed to be a factor.

CHP ask anyone with information to call 822-5981 or email humboldt_area.humboldt_area@chp.ca.gov.

Read the full CHP release below:


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Monday, January 13, 2020

Dramatic Video Shows How Sneaky Sneaker Waves Can Be

Posted By on Mon, Jan 13, 2020 at 12:46 PM

The destructive power of sneaker waves was on full display this past weekend, with a near miss at Moonstone Beach in Trinidad and a heartbreaking tragedy in Oregon, where two children — one of whom died while the other is missing — were swept off of a beach with their father, who survived.
wave.jpg

The Humboldt County coast is notoriously dangerous. Some beaches — those that are flat and have easy access to higher ground — are less dangerous but the cold water at each makes survival difficult for anyone carried out by the surf.

Many lives have been claimed over the years along with countless near misses, like the one Marcella Ogata-Day caught on camera in Trinidad while checking out the King Tides, which was posted on the Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group Facebook page.


Noting she was in no way judging others, Ogata-Day says she wanted to help “illustrate the power of the water” that suddenly overtook some beachgoers watching the high surf on Jan. 11, all of whom were able to make it out safely.

“There is a perceived sense of being safe and there were plenty of times when the waves came up, then went back as expected,” she wrote. “But waves can double up with a strong surge coming to shore, which happened yesterday and knocked some people not even on the sandy part of the beach off their feet with water coming up to the parking area. Everyone was okay and a lot more alert."

Last March, a Bay Area man on vacation with his wife and children died on his birthday after being swept away by a sneaker wave north of Luffenholtz Beach near Trinidad.

In October of 2018, Humboldt State University student Key’Maan Stringer — an aspiring actor known for his bright smile — is presumed to have drowned after being swept off the North Jetty on Oct. 29 while trying to free a fishing line that had become entangled in the rocks. His body has never been found.

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Thursday, January 9, 2020

10 Years Later: The Earthquake of 2010 (With Video)

Posted By on Thu, Jan 9, 2020 at 1:16 PM

A house on California Street slipped off its foundation. - FILE
  • File
  • A house on California Street slipped off its foundation.
Ten years ago, at 4:27 p.m., the earth let loose a magnitude-6.5 earthquake — with much of the force directed at the city of Eureka — with a powerful ferocity that shook the ground and people’s nerves.

Thousands in Humboldt County lost power after the temblor hit and nearly 500 structures, including the historic Old Town Bar and Grill building, the Bayshore Mall and many Victorian home suffered various levels of damage in the most powerful quake to hit since the Cape Mendocino series rattled the region over two days in April of 1992.

Then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would declare a state of emergency for Humboldt County and pay a personal visit to Eureka to assess the damage, which measured in the millions of dollars.

Here’s a look back at the North Coast Journal’s staff coverage of that Saturday a decade ago:
On Saturday afternoon at 4:27 and 39 seconds, 18 miles beneath the surface of the ocean and 23 miles west of Ferndale, a vast slab of the earth's crust known as the Gorda plate slipped laterally along a vertical faultline, releasing years of accumulated pressure in the form of a 6.5-magnitude earthquake. For a fraction of a moment, no one knew.

Then customers standing in line at Staples in the Eureka Mall looked up in unison, suddenly curious, like they were trying to recognize a tune on the radio. And then the floor made a sudden lateral lurch beneath their feet, as if the whole building had been perched on a flatbed truck when the driver popped the clutch. Instinctively, everyone's knees bent for balance and their bodies went rigid, heads swiveling madly like startled animals. The ground quivered and rumbled briefly, but before anyone could move, the second jolt hit. "Angry" is how many would later describe it, like being rear-ended. It slammed the building violently, sending everything into cacophonous motion — lights popping, shelves sliding, office supplies crashing to the floor.

The young checker's eyes went wide, and she sprinted for the door, followed closely by the throng. A panicked man face-planted just shy of the automatic door, then popped up immediately and kept running. Crowds poured from Blockbuster, Rite-Aid, Michael's and Winco, flooding into the parking lot where streetlights swayed like ships' masts. Some people screamed; others, the seasoned earthquake veterans, walked calmly over the speed bumps or casually pulled out their cell phones. Some turned and stared back at the buildings, perhaps expecting them to fall. Others jumped into their cars and filed into the eastbound procession on Harris Street.

Inside the Henderson Street branch of Papa Murphy's Pizza, some smiled at the first few shock waves. They had all the characteristics of an average 3 or 4 quake. The windows rattled, the adrenaline level rose a touch. There was a split-second pause when it seemed like it was over, and then everything was chaos — the walls moved back and forth, and the building roared with sound. "Up" and "down" became variable for a few seconds, and people splayed their legs wide to keep their footing.

Fear was still visible as the quake subsided. The cashier, a young woman, paced directionlessly behind the counter, her hands clutched at her chest. "I'm scared. I'm scared," she repeated to herself.
Earthquake damage in Old Town, Eureka - FILE
  • File
  • Earthquake damage in Old Town, Eureka


All over Eureka, residents emerged from their homes and stood dazed on the sidewalks. They called out to neighbors, "You OK?" "That was a big one!"

The sky glowed peach and gray, and then dimmed. A group of neighbors chattered excitedly outside their homes on a K Street block not far from downtown Eureka. A woman came out of her house with a small dog clutched in her arms and walked up the street calling out worriedly for another pet.

From a nearby alley came the crash-clink of falling glass. A woman was throwing out the remains of her blown-glass collection, which had shattered in the quake. Lights came on in the houses; this block hadn't lost power. But farther up and down the street the other blocks were dark. And the other streets, dark — except for the occasional orange flicker of candlelight in windows, revealing drunken walls where pictures clung at cockeyed angles.
People came out of their dark houses. They stood on the sidewalk talking to their neighbors. Some talked on cell phones, standing on the sidewalk looking around, or hunched on their porches. On K Street, near the corner of 14th, a woman stood on the sidewalk and said loudly into her phone, "I lost all my dishes. All the cupboards flew open and everything flew out. All my dishes are broken." Her next-door neighbor pulled up to the curb and got out of his car. "Is everything OK at your house?" she called to him. He said he didn't know yet, and went up his walkway.

On I Street, a woman walked quickly up and down, talking nervously to other people doing the same thing. A man came around the corner. "What's the news?" he asked. "I don't have power. I don't have radio or TV. What's the news?" He said he didn't have earthquake insurance.

Other people sat in vehicles, talking on their cell phones.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

UPDATE: Bomb Squad Investigating 'Suspicious Object,' Second Call in Two Days

Posted By on Wed, Jan 8, 2020 at 2:34 PM

Robot used at the McKinleyville scene yesterday. - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • Robot used at the McKinleyville scene yesterday.
UPDATE:

Deputies have cleared the scene at Parkwood Boulevard.

A Humboldt County Sheriff's Office release stated there is no "perceived threat to the public at this time." However, there were "explosive material" in the "suspicious device."

"Utilizing an EOD robot, deputies determined the suspicious device to contain explosive materials," the release states. "Deputies then rendered the device safe and collected it for further investigation. Humboldt Hill Road was re-opened to traffic shortly after."

PREVIOUS:

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office reports that its Explosive Ordnance Disposal team is responding to a report of a “suspicious object” found 2300 block of Parkwood Boulevard on Humboldt Hill.

Residents are being asked to stay inside during the investigation, the second such incident in two days. Yesterday, the EOD team responded to Central Avenue and Johnson Lane near the airport after a suspicious package was spotted.

A robot was sent in to X-ray that item found in a plastic bag and it was deemed harmless.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Read the HCSO release below:
On Jan. 8, 2020, at about 1:46 p.m., a citizen contacted the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Emergency Communications Center to report a suspicious device discovered in the yard of a residence on the 2300 block of Parkwood Boulevard in the Humboldt Hill area.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team was dispatched to investigate. California Highway Patrol officers responded to assist in temporarily closing Humboldt Hill Road between Kipling Drive and Parkwood Boulevard. The Humboldt Bay Fire Department also responded to assist. During this time, local residents were advised to stay indoors while deputies investigated.

Utilizing an EOD robot, deputies determined the suspicious device to contain explosive materials. Deputies then rendered the device safe and collected it for further investigation. Humboldt Hill Road was re-opened to traffic shortly after.

There is no perceived threat to the public at this time.

Anyone with information regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public that if you see something suspicious or out of place in your neighborhood, do not touch or move it, but contact your local law enforcement.
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Eureka Police Release Descriptions of Trucks Sought in Fatal Hit and Run

Posted By on Wed, Jan 8, 2020 at 1:34 PM

The Eureka Police Department released new information today about two vehicles believed to have been involved in a Dec. 15 fatal hit and run on Broadway south of 14th Street.

According to EPD, witnesses said Ashley Madonia, 36, was hit as she walked outside of the crosswalk around 8 p.m. Officers who arrived on scene
FILE
  • FILE
 began life-saving efforts, which were continued by Humboldt Bay Fire and City Ambulance personnel. She was transported to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Based on evidence gathered during the investigation, EPD is seeking information on two trucks: a 1994-1999 Chevrolet 2500 or 3500 pickup, white with dark lower color panel and an unknown make/model/year, two door, dark colored small pickup.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Senior Detective Amber Cosetti at acosetti@ci.eureka.ca.gov or (707)441-4315 or Sergeant Gary Whitmer at gwhitmer@ci.eureka.ca.gov or (707)441-4306.

Read the EPD release below:

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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

SECOND UPDATE: All Clear Given After Explosive Ordnance Team Investigates Suspicious Package in McKinleyville

Posted By and on Tue, Jan 7, 2020 at 3:04 PM

The EOD team used a robot to X-ray the package. - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • The EOD team used a robot to X-ray the package.
SECOND UPDATE:

A postal worker reported the package, which was sitting under a stop sign inside a white plastic bag, just before 1 p.m.

After advising local residents to stay indoors, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team was able to X-ray the item using a robot and determined there was no threat.

"The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public that if you see something suspicious or out of place in your neighborhood, do not touch or move it, but contact your local law enforcement," the release states.


UPDATE:

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office reports
the scene has been cleared and no explosive was found.

PREVIOUS:
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office reports that its Explosive Ordnance Disposal team is currently out at Central Avenue and Johnson in McKinleyville investigating a suspicious package found near a stop sign.

According to the Twitter post, “Central between Airport and Grange will be temporarily closed during this investigation.” There are no safety advisories for residents in the area at this time, the sheriff’s office said.

Read the HCSO release below:
On Jan. 7, 2020, at about 12:47 p.m., a U.S. Postal Service worker contacted the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Emergency Communications Center to report a suspicious package near the intersection of Central Avenue and Johnson Lane in McKinleyville.

According to the reporting party, the package, which was located inside of a white plastic shopping bag, had been placed under a stop sign at the intersection for several hours.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team was dispatched to investigate. California Highway Patrol officers responded to assist in temporarily closing Central Avenue between Grange and Airport Roads while deputies investigated. During this time, local residents were advised to stay indoors while deputies worked to determine the contents of the package.

Utilizing an EOD robot, deputies x-rayed the package and determined the contents to be safe. The road was re-opened to traffic shortly after.

There is no perceived threat to the public at this time.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public that if you see something suspicious or out of place in your neighborhood, do not touch or move it, but contact your local law enforcement.
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Monday, January 6, 2020

SECOND UPDATE: 'Everyone is Doing Well,' Boat Owner Says After Coasties Respond to Distressed Vessel

Posted By and on Mon, Jan 6, 2020 at 8:49 AM

SECOND UPDATE:

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew used “direction-finding radio” to locate debris from a sinking boat after receiving a distress call Sunday evening that guided rescuers to fishermen who had made it to a beach in their survival gear using a life raft, according to a press release.

Due to a head injury, one of the fishing vessel’s crew was taken to St. Joseph Hospital by helicopter while the others were picked up by a sheriff deputy who also responded to the scene near the South Jetty.

“This case is a great example of how having the right survival equipment aboard and being proficient in its use saves lives,” said Cmdr. Brendan Hilleary, the Sector Humboldt Bay chief of response. “The vessel’s crew recognized the severity of their situation, made a distress call on their VHF radio, activated a properly registered EPIRB, wore personal flotation devices and abandoned ship into their life raft. They did everything right to help our crews get to them quickly and accurately.”

UPDATE:

According to boat owner Cassie Michel, “Everyone is doing well, accounted for and with their love ones. … The men where all able to make it to the shore in their survival suits and the life raft deployed as expected.”

PREVIOUS:

At approximately 8:15 p.m. Sunday, the U.S. Coast Guard began working to rescue three crew members of a 35-foot commercial fishing vessel in distress near the South Jetty of Humboldt Bay.

According to Petty Officer Taylor Bacon, Sector Humboldt Bay received a report of the vessel which has lost propulsion near the South Jetty. He said the Coast Guard deployed a motor lifeboat and a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter carrying a rescue swimmer.
A MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, like this one pictured on a different rescue, responded to the distress call. - U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO COURTESY OF ARCATA MAD RIVER AMBULANCE SERVICES
  • U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Arcata Mad River Ambulance Services
  • A MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, like this one pictured on a different rescue, responded to the distress call.


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Friday, January 3, 2020

The Biggest Wave and Bomb Cyclone: A Record-Breaking Year of Wild Weather

Posted By on Fri, Jan 3, 2020 at 3:57 PM

Looking back at 2019 from a weather standpoint, things were a bit on the wild side at times. So, the Journal reached out to climate specialist Matthew Kidwell in the Eureka office of the National Weather Service, who compiled what he saw as the most notable weather incidents to take place last year.

Along with those events, 2019 hit a record for breaking records, with 18 total set, according to Kidwell, that included 11 high temps and seven minimum temps.

The closest other years were 2004 and 2014, which saw 10 and nine record highs, respectively. But 2013 edged out 2019 to stay in the lead for most minimum records at 10.

Damaging Waves in Shelter Cove: On Jan. 17, waves upward of 30 feet crashed into eight homes on Lower Pacific Drive in Shelter Cove causing extensive damage, included flooding, mud covered floors, broken windows and ruined furniture.

Cheryl Antony, spokesperson for Shelter Cove Fire, told Redheaded Blackbelt at the time that one of the homes had approximately 10 broken windows and some had up to 4 inches of water inside.
A member of Shelter Cove Fire inspects the damage including water on the floor of this custom-built home. - CHERYL ANTONY OF SHELTER COVE FIRE
  • Cheryl Antony of Shelter Cove Fire
  • A member of Shelter Cove Fire inspects the damage including water on the floor of this custom-built home.
“We had to put life jackets on to walk around [to assess damage],” Antony said. “We have never seen waves like this before. One came over the whole deck we were standing on. We had to run.”


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