Amateur radio operators prepare to activate Amateur Radio Emergency Service

FLAGSTAFF – The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES – Pronounced air-ease) is a component of the Amateur Radio Relay League. They activate in times of natural or man-made disaster. ARES in Flagstaff is operated by the Coconino Amateur Radio Club. There has recently been a move to create a group in Williams.

ARES was not activated during the recent Christmas eve storm, but may be activated by Coconino County Emergency Management Friday and Saturday in preparation for what may occur during the upcoming storm.

SKYWARN weather spotters are also encouraged to report snow fall amounts and unusual weather conditions. SKYWARN is sponsored by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). You can also monitor the NOAA weather frequencies available on most FRS/GMRS radios. You can learn more about SKYWARN at their web site.

ARES operators in Flagstaff and Williams will monitor the ARES repeater located on Mount Elden in Flagstaff. Williams operators will also be monitoring the repeater located on Bill Williams Mountain operated by the Bill Williams Mountain Radio Club for emergency traffic. GMRS channel 22 will also be monitored for emergency traffic. Unless you have a GMRS license, you may only use channels 15-22 of FRS/GMRS multi-use radios to call for help to prevent loss of life or property according to FCC regulations.

There are no provisions currently in place to monitor citizens band Channel 9.

The Bill Williams Mountain repeater operates on Frequency 146.780, tone of 91.5 with a standard negative offset of 600 hertz. The ARES repeater operates on 146.980, tone of 162.2 with a standard negative offset. In Williams, operators have agreed on the frequency of 146.940 for SIMPLEX communications. The cooperation of amateur operators in keeping these free for emergency traffic if ARES activates is appreciated.

The operators attempting to form an emergency communications group has a Facebook page for more information.

Residents urged to prepare for winter snowstorms

FLAGSTAFF — The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Winter Storm Warning today for Northern Arizona due to incoming snowstorms impacting the region.

The NWS is predicting a series of storms starting Thursday for elevations above 5500 feet. The series could bring over two feet of snow and continue until Monday evening with the most severe parts of the storm coming Friday night through Saturday.

Coconino County Emergency Management is working with County Public Works, Law Enforcement agencies, Arizona Department of Transportation, utility companies, volunteer agencies and other community partners to ensure a coordinated response for any adverse impact the storm may have on residents.

Emergency Management is also encouraging residents to prepare for the storms system by following these steps:

1. Sign up for CodeRED emergency notifications at: www.Coconino.az.gov/emergency

2. Prepare your home for extended “snow-ins”: This series of storms can cause power outages and significantly hinder travel. In the event of a being stranded by a “snow-in,” it is imperative to have enough supplies at home to weather the storm. All County residents should have the following on hand:
• Three days of non-perishable food and water (one gallon per day per family member)
• First aid kit and extra supply of medication
• Personal hygiene supplies, extra clothing, footwear, gloves, blankets, sleeping bags
• Extra food for pets and livestock
• Flashlight, extra batteries, candles and a battery operated radio
• Alternate heat source (kerosene, wood, etc.)
• Full propane tank (if applicable)
• Extra set of car keys, cash, credit cards
• Snow shovels
• An emergency plan for the entire family
• There are emergency power packs for cell phones available for around $6 at the various dollar stores. You have to charge them up, but they will operate your cell phone for a few hours.

3. Plan Travel Accordingly: Good winter travel planning is critical for the safety of Coconino County residents and visitors alike. Stay aware and informed about incoming and ongoing storms through a weather radio or by visiting the NWS website at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/fgz/. Use the Arizona Department of Transportation’s (ADOT) www.az511.gov system for interstate travel information before you leave home. The County encourages all citizens to heed all NWS Winter Storm Watches and Warnings and to stay off the roads as much as possible during a storm. If you must travel, then let someone know your intended route and expected time of arrival.

4. Generator use: If it is necessary to use a portable generator, manufacturer recommendations and specifications must be strictly followed. If there are any questions regarding the operation or installation of the portable generator, a qualified electrician should be immediately contacted to assist in installation and start-up activities. The generator should always be positioned outside the structure.

5. Secure private plowing services now: The County cannot provide snow plowing services for private roads. If you live on a private road, then consider securing a professional plowing service as soon as possible. Even if you live on a County road, a plowing service can clear windrows and driveways (services not provided by the County).

6. No Parking on County roads: County Ordinance 86-6 prohibits motorists from parking on county roadways between Nov. 1 and April 1 on a 24-hour basis. Residents are asked to park their vehicles five to 10 feet from the roadway to allow ample room for snowplows to pass. Remove all private objects from County right of way (i.e.: yard art, planters and trash bins).

7. Call 9-1-1 in an emergency situation: In the event of a snow related emergency, call 9-1-1. First responders will coordinate with Public Works if plowing to the scene of an emergency is necessary.

8. Additional information: For questions about snow removal operations and related road conditions, please contact the following:
· Coconino County: For County maintained roads, please call Public Works at 928-679- 8300 during normal business hours (7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.).
· Follow Coconino County on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CoconinoCounty and Twitter at www.twitter.com/CoconinoCounty for updates on road and weather conditions as they become available.
· City of Flagstaff: Please call either 928-213-2175 or 928-774-1605 during normal business hours.
· Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT): For highway road conditions, please call 5-1-1 or visit ADOT’s online Traffic Operations Center at www.az511.gov.
· National Weather Service (NWS): For weather information about winter storms, please visit the NWS web page at www.weather.gov/flagstaff.
· Emergencies: To report snow-related road emergencies, please call 9-1-1.

Seven-mile stretch of Lake Mary Road (FH-3) to close at 10 a.m.

FLAGSTAFF — Coconino County Public Works Department will close a seven-mile stretch of Lake Mary Road, also known as Forest Highway-3 (FH-3) at 10 a.m., tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 19. Traffic will detour along the West Side Mormon Lake Road, which loops Mormon Lake and goes through Mormon Lake Village during this closure.

The closure will be in effect at the north entrance of Mormon Lake (near the scenic overlook) to the south entrance of Mormon Lake, which is about 35 miles southeast of Flagstaff. This section of Lake Mary Road will remain closed until weather conditions allow for the County to safely reopen the roadway.

The closure is due to high winds and drifting heavy snow caused by wind. When drifting occurs, visibility becomes limited and there is an increased difficulty for our snowplow operators to keep the road clear of snow. In an effort to ensure the safety of drivers, they will be detoured along the alternate route through Mormon Lake Village.

A Winter Storm Warning from the National Weather Service is in effect from 6 a.m. Thursday until noon on Saturday, Jan. 21. Total accumulations from this storm are forecast to be between 12 and 24 inches of snow above 7,000 feet with eight to 16 inches of snow expected to fall between 5,500 and 7,000 feet. County Public Works crews will remain deployed to keep County roadways open and passable.

Snowfall during this storm is expected to be heavy at times, and blowing snow with wind gusts from 30 mph to 35 mph may lead to whiteout conditions with near zero visibility that will make travel very difficult.

Motorists are reminded to travel safely and that accumulated snowfall and wind can create hazardous conditions, including low visibility. For questions about snow removal operations and related road conditions, please contact the following:

· Coconino County: For county maintained roads, please call Public Works at 928-679- 8300 during normal business hours (7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.).
· Follow Coconino County on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CoconinoCounty and Twitter at www.twitter.com/CoconinoCounty for updates on road and weather conditions as they become available.
· City of Flagstaff: Please call either 928-213-2175 or 928-774-1605 during normal business hours.
· Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT): For highway road conditions, please call 5-1-1 or visit ADOT’s online Traffic Operations Center at www.az511.gov.
· National Weather Service (NWS): For weather information about winter storms, please visit the NWS web page at www.weather.gov/flagstaff.
· Emergencies: To report snow-related road emergencies, please call 9-1-1.

As a reminder, County Ordinance 86-6 prohibits motorists from parking on county roadways between Nov. 1 and April 1 on a 24-hour basis. Residents are asked to park their vehicles five to 10 feet from the roadway to allow ample room for snowplows to pass.

Be prepared at home and always have on hand:

· Working carbon monoxide detectors (with battery backups) in all sleeping and common areas
· Three days of non-perishable food and water (one gallon per day per family member)
· First aid kit and extra supply of medication
· Personal hygiene supplies, extra clothing, footwear, gloves, blankets, sleeping bags
· Extra food for pets and livestock
· Flashlight, extra batteries, candles and a battery operated radio
· Alternate heat source (kerosene, wood, etc.)
· Full propane tank (if applicable)
· Extra set of car keys, cash, credit cards
· Snow shovels
· An emergency plan for the entire family

Vehicle preparedness tips:

· Winterize your vehicle (antifreeze, wipers, battery, snow tires)
· Carry an emergency kit consisting of tire chains or cables, blankets, tow strap, jumper cables, flashlight, water, first aid kit, ice scraper, extra clothing, and appropriate tools
· Keep the gas tank at least half full
· When traveling, let someone know your intended route and expected time of arrival
· Allow extra time for travel and drive accordingly
· Extra blanket and food.

Economic forums on Navajo Nation

TUBA CITY – Coconino County District 5 Supervisor Lena Fowler and the Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona (ECoNA) are hosting a series of economic outlook meetings on the Navajo Nation. The meetings will gather input from the public on ways to diversify the economy in northern Arizona due to the potential work reduction at Navajo Generating Station and possible impacts to mining.

All members of the public, especially those affected by the changing economy, are encouraged to attend and participate in the discussions. The meeting schedules are as follows:

Armed Robbery at Gray Mountain Thriftway

Gray Mountain, AZ – On January 16, 2017 at approximately 8:34 pm, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of an armed robbery that had taken place at the Gray Mountain Thriftway. Gray Mountain is located on U.S. Route 89 39 miles north-east of Flagstaff.

The suspect entered the store and approached one of the employees demanding money while brandishing a firearm. The employee complied and handed over money. A second employee in the back office witnessed the robber but did not intervene. The suspect was last seen leaving the store on foot. An Attempt to Locate was given to local law enforcement for the suspect.

The suspect is described as a Native American male, approximately 20 years old, 6 feet tall and thin build. The suspect was wearing a black hoodie pulled tight around his face, dark pants, and black and white shoes.

If anyone has information regarding this crime, please contact the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office at 1-800-338-7888 or Silent Witness at 928-774-6111.

Winter Storm Watch through Saturday Morning

WILLIAMS – A winter storm watch is set for tomorrow morning through Saturday morning for the snow fall expected to start tonight. A winter storm watch means there is a potential for significant snow and or ice accumulations and strong winds. These conditions may impact travel. People who were here during the Christmas of ’16 will remember the 28-car pileup on Interstate 40 in Williams. Travel is not advised unless it is an absolute necessity.A light snow will develop and spread from west to east during the day Thursday. Moderate to heavy snow will develop Thursday night, before tapering off to snow showers during the day Friday. A second storm will bring periods of moderate to heavy snow to the region late Friday and Friday night. Williams can expect 8- to 16-inches over the period with Flagstaff expecting 12- to 24-inches.

Snow is expected to start tonight. Thursday there is an 80% chance of snow with up to ten-inches accumulation overnight. Winds of up to 22-mph with gusts up to 37. On Friday winds will be 15 to 17-mph with gust up to 32. There is a 60% chance of 2- to 4-inches during the day with a 90% chance overnight with new snow accumulation of 6- to 10-inches possible. Saturday during the day might leave another 1- to 3-inches as snow and winds begin to lessen. The chance of snow will continue through Tuesday.

The temperatures will remain in the low-30s throughout the period dropping to the 20s overnight.

Snow through Monday

Grand Canyon Railway train backs in to load passengers against a backdrop of fog.

WILLIAMS – A thin veil of fog covered Williams this morning. Visibility is still good. Snow and rain expected today through tomorrow. It will clear up Tuesday and Wednesday returning Thursday through next weekend.

There is a 60% chance of rain and snow throughout the day. 50% chance tonight dropping to 10% over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. A reminder that all offices are closed for the day.

The weather is expected to clear Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday the chance of snow returns and continues throughout next weekend.

No services available for part of Wednesday, January 18, at I-10 Burnt Well Rest Area

PHOENIX – Restrooms, drinking fountains and vending machines won’t be available at the Interstate 10 Burnt Well Rest Area west of Phoenix from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, January 18, due to utility work in the area.

Motorists will still be able to stop at the rest area, which has locations in both directions at milepost 86 near Tonopah, while the power is out and services aren’t available.

Other ADOT rest areas along I-10 between Phoenix and the California state line are Bouse Wash at milepost 53 and Ehrenberg at milepost 4.7.

Winter Recreation Cleanup Efforts Involve Many Resources

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and Coconino National Forest wants citizens to be aware of the work being done by the Coconino Sheriff’s Inmate Work Crew and Forest Service personnel to help mitigate the unsightly broken sleds and other trash left behind on public lands during winter recreation. Many residents and visitors have voiced their concerns about large amounts of trash that has been left behind during winter recreation. Few agencies have enough resources to handle the trash issues alone and there are no trash services on public lands, which is why it is important for people recreating in the snow to clean up any trash or broken sleds before leaving the area.As more and more people leave their trash behind, more and more help is needed to clean it up. The Coconino Sheriff’s Inmate Work Crew helping to pick up trash and take care of public lands is yet another example of the many ways inmates are giving back to the community in a positive way. The Inmate Work Crew has worked closely with the Coconino National Forest on this and other projects such as flood mitigation and cleanup of transient camps in the area. The Inmate Work Crew is regularly involved in picking up trash on public lands and has had work days in Williams, Tusayan, Tuba City, Timberline, and Picture Canyon, to name a few. The Crew also regularly assists other organizations such as County Public Works with graffiti removal, social service organizations with wood cutting for people in need, and County Parks and Recreation with projects.Please help keep Flagstaff and the surrounding communities beautiful, and take care of your public lands so everyone can enjoy them. Pack out your trash after enjoying time playing in the snow in Northern Arizona.

Two Recent Winter Recreation Rescues on the San Francisco Peaks

FLAGSTAFF – The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of the Arizona Snowbowl has conducted two search and rescue missions on the San Francisco Peaks in the last couple of days.

The first was a search for two lost hikers who had attempted to summit Humphrey’s Peak by using the Humphrey’s Trail on January 10th. The trail was mostly indistinguishable due to the snow cover. The adult male and adult female called 911 at approximately 4:45 PM from a location at approximately 10,750 feet. The two hikers were unable to navigate back to the trail head and were becoming cold and did not have equipment for night time hiking. Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue personnel responded to the call and were assisted by the Arizona Snowbowl grooming snowcats so that they could be inserted near the wilderness boundary near the top of the Humphrey’s Chair Lift. The SAR personnel then hiked to the location of the hikers and provided them with warm clothes, food, and water before bringing them back to the top of the Humphrey’s Chair Lift where the snowcats transported them back to the Agassiz Lodge at 9:00 PM. Neither hiker requested any medical attention.

On January 11th at 12:45 PM Arizona Snowbowl Ski Patrol notified the Sheriff’s Office about two lost snowboarders who had left the ski area boundary and were in the area known as First Gully south of the ski area. The two snowboarders were separated by approximately half a mile. Ski Patrol, at the request of the Sheriff’s Office, left the ski area and skied down First Gully to locate one of the snowboarders. SAR personnel hiked in to the Viet Spring area to attempt to locate the second snowboarder. The second snowboarder eventually hiked out to the Viet Spring parking area where he was located by SAR personnel. Both snowboarders were reunited at the Viet Spring parking area and then reunited with friends at the Agassiz Lodge. Neither requested any medical attention.

In both missions the subjects were not adequately prepared for the winter backcountry. Winter trails that appear on maps may not be discernible in the field due to snow cover. Good backcountry navigation skills may be necessary including map reading, compass skills, and GPS skills. All backcountry travelers should be prepared with the “ten essentials” plus three winter backcountry essentials in addition to a cell phone. The “ten essentials” include water, food, extra warm clothing, navigation equipment, headlamp/flashlight, first aid kit, shelter material/space blanket, fire starting kit, pocket knife/mulit-tool, and whistle/signal mirror. The winter backcountry essentials are an avalanche shovel, avalanche probe, and avalanche beacon. A cell phone is a good item to carry but backcountry travelers should be aware that cellular service may not be available. Even if your cell phone does not indicate that it has signal, if you have an emergency you should still attempt to call 911. All backcountry travelers should leave a detailed trip plan with a trusted person who can contact emergency services in the event that the traveler does not check in or return by a specified time. When exploring the winter backcountry on the San Francisco Peaks the backcountry travelers should be aware of the potential for avalanche hazards. Additional education about avalanche hazards and avoidance is available from the Kachina Peaks Avalanche Center at www.kachinapeaks.org.