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GOV. LOWRY PROCLAIMS STATE OF EMERGENCY IN RESPONSE TO STATEWIDE WINDSTORM

 OLYMPIA, Wash., Jan. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Gov. Mike Lowry has proclaimed a state of emergency in response to the emergency caused by the windstorm which hit the state, the Washington State Department of Community Development (DCD) said today.
 Gov. Lowry's proclamation directs state government resources to support local government response and recovery efforts in the aftermath of the storm.
 Earlier today, the Department of Community Development activated the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to coordinate state response efforts. Represented in the State EOC are DCD, the Washington State Patrol, Department of Transportation, Washington State Energy Office and the Washington National Guard. The State EOC will remain open on a 24-hour basis until further notice.
 Preliminary damage assessments have begun. No dollar estimates for damage is available at this time.
 An estimated 750,000 electric customers are without service in Western Washington, according to the State Energy Office. Service may not be completely restored for several days because of extensive damage to local utility distribution systems. Local utilities have requested repair crews from outside the state. The State Energy Office is working with the Bonneville Power Administration and local electric utilities to coordinate the restoration of electric service.
 State emergency officials urge citizens not to make unnecessary calls. This will keep phone lines open for emergency purposes. The phone system is not designed to handle the quantity of traffic occurring today. Many phone company central switching offices and cellular phone sites are on generator or battery power at this time.
 Wahkiakum County in southwest Washington appears to have been hard hit, with downed trees and power lines, building damage, and closed roads. The county is working to provide back-up power to its sewage treatment plant. Wahkiakum County commissioners proclaimed a state of emergency shortly before noon.
 OTHER REPORTS FROM AROUND THE STATE:
 Mason, Pacific, Grays Harbor, Cowlitz, Lewis, Kitsap, King, and Pierce Counties also reported high winds and some damages, and extensive power outages.
 Capitol Campus, Olympia: Power and heat outages hit the seat of state government. A small fire was reported in the General Administration Building and smoke reported in the Cherbourg Building, and both buildings were evacuated. Damage estimates are not immediately available. Earlier today, Lt. Gov. Joel Pritchard ordered all non- essential state employees working in affected facilities to go home. Pritchard made the decision acting for Gov. Mike Lowry, who was enroute from inaugural ceremonies in Washington, D.C. Lowry was back in Olympia shortly after noon, and has been appraised of the situation by his staff.
 Thurston County: Had widespread power outages and utility outages, including the sewer treatment plant. Local and state officials were working to acquire a temporary generators to provide back-up power to the plant and other areas.
 STATE HIGHWAY CLOSURES:
 Puget Sound area:
 -- State Route 104 - Hood Canal Bridge
 -- Intersection of State Routes 520 and 405; expected to
 reopen at 6 p.m.
 Wenatchee area:
 -- State Route 2 at mile post 150 due to wind and snow.
 -- State Route 17 at mile post 179 due to wind and snow.
 -- State Route 172 from mile posts 0 to 35 due to wind and
 snow.
 Mountain passes:
 -- State Route 12 at White Pass due to snow.
 -- State Route 2 at Stevens Pass due to snow.
 TIPS TO HELP PEOPLE COPE WITH THE POWER OUTAGE:
 An estimated 750,000 electric customers are without service in Western Washington as a result of today's storm. Electric service may not be restored for hours or days. People whose power is out should take the following actions to better cope with the outage:
 -- Check your house, then the neighborhood for downed power
 lines, sparks, or anything immediately dangerous. Do not
 touch or handle downed power or phone lines. Report
 downed lines to local utilities.
 -- Seal off as many rooms as possible in your home to contain heat.
 -- A fireplace can be used to heat a home, but can make the house
 colder by drawing air from outside.
 -- A well-insulated home protects against the elements. Stuff rags,
 paper or other materials into cracks, underneath drafty doors,
 etc.
 -- Wear layers of warm clothing for insulation.
 -- Use a battery-powered radio to stay informed of local conditions
 and announcements from local officials. A car radio will work in
 a pinch.
 -- If reports indicate there is no power at your community's
 sewage treatment plant, use your toilet as little as possible.
 -- Avoid indoor cooking or heating with charcoal, coal, or camp
 stove fuels. Use of such fuels in poorly ventilated, enclosed
 areas is dangerous because they produce toxic emissions.
 -- Turn off all switches - including furnace and major appliances
 -- except for one light. When power comes back on, the initial
 power surge could blow circuits again.
 -- It is best to avoid opening refrigerators and freezers. Foods
 will keep longer when these appliances are kept closed. Before
 removing items from a refrigerator or freezer, make a list of
 items desired. Open and close the door quickly and only when
 necessary.
 -- If possible, get dry ice for the freezer to maintain frozen
 goods.
 -- Unplug the freezer, refrigerator and other major appliances to
 prevent motor damage when power returns. Wrap the unit with a
 blanket, newspaper or other insulating material to keep frozen
 food from thawing.
 -- Regularly check on disabled or elderly neighbors and family
 members to make sure they have enough heat, food and medicine.
 -- Remember to care for farm animals and pets.
 -- If the power outage is extended beyond several hours, fuel for
 motor vehicles may not be readily available. Conservation by not
 driving is encouraged.
 -0- 1/20/93
 /CONTACT: Mark Stewart or Mark Clemens, Washington State Emergency Operations Center, 206-438-7737 or 206-951-0249 (cellular), both of the Washington State Department of Community Development/


CO: Washington State Department of Community Development ST: Washington IN: SU:

LM -- SE019 -- 7167 01/20/93 19:23 EST
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Date:Jan 20, 1993
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