FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 31, 1996

Four counties added to governor's emergency proclamation -- brings total to 19


OLYMPIA - Gov. Mike Lowry today added Skamania, Yakima, Asotin and Kittitas counties to the emergency proclamation for the state's winter weather emergency.

"I urge everyone to exercise caution on this New Year's holiday," Lowry said. "The weather continues to present serious safety hazards, so we should all be careful on the roads, at home and at work."

Counties covered by emergency proclamations for winter storms

Grays Harbor
San Juan

The governor signed the latest proclamation at 12:15 p.m. today, bringing to 19 the number of counties covered by emergency declarations. Gov. Lowry initially proclaimed the state of emergency Sunday, Dec. 29, as a result of the severe winter weather conditions throughout much of the state.

Snow melt and rains continue to force a watch on all streams and rivers from Snohomish County southward. Currently, six rivers are at flood warning. All rivers in western Washington from Snohomish County southward are at or near flood stage and are closely being watched, as are eastern Washington rivers in the foothills of the Blue Mountains in southeast Washington. Citizens are advised to be prepared and to continue listening to the media for emergency information from their local officials.

Strong winds of 40 to 50 mph with gusts to 70 or 80 mph are expected along the coast this evening and continuing into New Year's Day. Possible strong south winds of 40 mph and gusts from 60 to 70 mph are expected for the rest of western Washington late this evening and into New Year's Day.

Officials warn this is a dangerous storm with potentially damaging winds for the coast tonight and other areas of western Washington on New Year's Day. Residents and travelers in western Washington should be prepared for high winds. The recent heavy snow, rain and local flooding will increase the likelihood that trees will be toppled by the high winds, adding to the ongoing power outages.

Snow and debris removal, damage to public facilities and the threat of floods to roads are concerns to local counties included in the latest proclamation. All ferry service is operational. The Washington Department of Transportation advises motorists around the state to drive with caution due to treacherous and changing conditions, including snow, ice, slush, standing water in roadways and high winds.


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For more information, please contact the Governor's Communications Office at (360) 753-6790 or Rob Harper of the Washington Emergency Management Division at (360) 438-7737.



The severe winter storm which began December 26, 1996 is continuing to cause extensive damage throughout Washington State.

WHEREAS, heavy snowfall and flooding has caused extensive damage to homes, businesses, infrastructure, and public utilities in Kittitas, Yakima and Skamania Counties;

NOW THEREFORE, I, MIKE LOWRY, Governor of the state of Washington as a result of the aforementioned situation and under RCW 43.06 and 38.52, do hereby amend the proclamation of December 26, 1996, and further proclaim that a State of Emergency exists in Kittitas, Yakima and Skamania Counties and authorize execution of the Washington State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.

IN WITNESS WHERE OF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the state of Washington to be affixed at Olympia this 30th day of December, A.D., Nineteen Hundred Ninety-six.

Signed by Mike Lowry, Governor of Washington

Attested to by Ralph Munro, Secretary of State