[1/13/22] Still Digging Out

Posted in Weather

It’s been one week since what’s been called “snowmageddon,” and Chelan County is still digging out. The county yesterday clarified its snow removal policies after receiving calls from frustrated citizens who were not prepared for all the snow.

Since the Jan. 6 snowstorm, county road crews have been clearing roads and widening roadways, intersections, cul de sacs and school bus turnarounds in the unincorporated areas. Much of the county’s manpower and equipment has been utilized in the Upper Valley, where county crews reported seeing as much as 5 feet of snow in areas near Lake Wenatchee.

County Public Works Director Eric Pierson says the county cannot divert its road crews from public roadways to private property, or U.S. Forest Service or private roads. It is not only a gifting of public funds, but county resources are needed to continue to address the public roadways. He says the county’s priority early on was to get roadways open to at least one lane so emergency responders and citizens living off county roads would be able to travel the county road. He adds that the priority is still to continue to improve that access.

Emergency Management and the Sheriff’s Office also have been working together to provide welfare checks on citizens when they receive calls. Most callers report having adequate food, water and power. Several callers are seeking help with private snow removal, which the county does not provide. In response, Emergency Management has compiled a list of private snow removal resources. It is available at the county’s website in the news section.

In addition, if people are unable to stay in their homes for reasons such as collapsed roofs or lack of power, the American Red Cross also is on standby to assist with shelter. However, Emergency Management has received no such requests as of yet, he added.

The city of Leavenworth called on the National Guard to assist with welfare checks on people who live in the city limits. In some cases, the National Guard is also helping city residents with clearing paths from their homes to city roads.

Here in Chelan, Mayor Bob Goedde says the city seems to be ahead of the curve of the rest of the county:

And City Administrator Wade Ferris says the city crews are still busy working on getting everything cleared:

The county asks that if you know someone in need of a welfare check because you are worried their lives are in danger, call RiverCom on its business line at 509-663-9911.