Monthly Archives: December 2008

Coast Guard warning

DATE: December 11, 2008 17:12:14 PST

Coast Guard Urges Mariners to Exercise Caution as Storm System Moves South Along California Coast

Press Release

Coast Guard Urges Mariners to Exercise Caution as Storm System Moves South Along California Coast

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The National Weather Service has a Small Craft Advisory for the Central and Northern California Coast, and has issued a Gale Warning for the coastal waters north of Point Arena.

A low-pressure system is moving south out of Canada, bringing cold temperatures, precipitation, and rough seas.

For the waters north of Pigeon Point, the winds and seas are expected to build over the next several days, with sustained wind speeds up to 40 miles per hour and swells as high as 30 feet. These conditions will be building through Friday, and peaking Saturday or Sunday.

For the coastal waters along the San Francisco and Monterey Bays, a Small Craft Advisory is in effect through Saturday afternoon. Winds will be steady up to 29 miles per hour through the weekend, with swells reaching up to 20 feet on Saturday.

The conditions could potentially become worse than forecasted as the system moves south. It is also forecasted that several other systems could move south through next week, so hazardous conditions could remain beyond the weekend.

Several lives were lost along the California and Oregon Coast over the Thanksgiving weekend as a result of high surf and rough seas. The Coast Guard is urging that all people heed the warnings and exercise extreme caution while on or near the water to avoid any loss of life from this system.

The Coast Guard strongly recommends that people avoid going near beaches or other low-lying coastal areas, especially jetties and rocky areas, over the next several days. Large waves can quickly, and unexpectedly sweep a person from these areas. Even the strongest swimmers can quickly be overtaken by the power of the sea, especially when the cold-water temperatures are factored in.

Given the cold temperatures associated with this system, and the cold Pacific waters, hypothermia is a major concern, as always.

Though the large waves can be an extreme sight to some, the Coast Guard, along with its partner state and local agencies, urge people to not go near these areas if at all possible. The risk to life is too great during conditions such as these.

The Coast Guard also strongly recommends boaters avoid taking to the water over the next few days, until the seas subside.

If it necessary to get underway mariners are urged to check that all of their safety equipment is in good condition.

There should be a personal flotation device onboard for each person, sized accordingly. If boaters will be traveling offshore, it is strongly recommended that there be an immersion suit or other full-body protection, as water temperatures will be cold, and hypothermia can quickly overtake the average person.

All boaters should also ensure that they have a working marine VHF radio on board to contact the Coast Guard on channel 16 should an emergency arise. The Coast Guard reminds all mariners that channel 16 is an emergency frequency, and should be used for such. Misuse of channel 16 or broadcasting false distress calls can result in prison time, severe fines, and you could be liable for any costs incurred as a result of search efforts.

The Coast Guard also strongly recommends that all boaters file a float plan with a friend or family member on land, with an approximate time of return and location to which you will be heading. It is also recommended that you regularly check in with those who are aware of your plan, especially if your plan should change.

Mariners should check current and forecasted weather conditions prior to getting underway, and remain aware of changing conditions once on the water. The National Weather Service broadcasts weather conditions throughout the day on VHF channel WX2. The Coast Guard broadcasts weather conditions on VHF channel 22A at 9:30 a.m., noon, and 4:30 p.m.

As the storm season for Northern California begins, the Coast Guard also encourages all boaters to check the status of mooring and anchor lines, and replace worn lines if necessary. During strong winds and heavy seas, vessels can come loose from the pier or anchor due to worn lines, or not having enough lines attached to the pier or having a heavy enough anchor.

Vessels adrift can become hazardous to nearby vessels as they are tossed about, and can become hazards to navigation once the storm has passed. These vessels can also pose environmental risk as any fluids or chemicals onboard can spill or leak should the vessel break apart.

For more information on boating safety and required and recommended safety equipment, please visit

For more information on weather conditions, please visit


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Batten down the hatches! Big storm coming UPDATED.

This just in from NOAA’s National Weather Service:

The first cold storm of the season will impact northwest California beginning Friday night.  This event will bring low elevation snow over the weekend, and may also produce small hail to the coast.  Black ice and rock slides are also possible on the passes.   This storm is being caused by polar air currently residing in Alaska and northern Canada that will drop south into the region this weekend and through the middle of next week.

Snow showers and hail can catch travelers by surprise.  Folks should drive slower in general to provide more time to react to one of these hazards, and they should really focus on the road ahead so they notice the telltale signs of danger.  As Troy Nicolini with the National Weather Service in Eureka puts it: ” If you find yourself driving into unsettled thunderstorm weather, you should be anticipating slippery conditions and slow down well in advance.   If you do find yourself suddenly driving on a hail or snow covered road, don’t slam on your brakes.  Instead, ease off the gas pedal to slow down gradually.”  
Also watch for black ice on bridges and on low sections of roads that are shaded, and slow down before you reach an area of concern.  Be on alert for rock slides as you round corners on roads in steep areas.  Highway 299 is especially prone to rock slides.  Travelers should also expect some snow accumulations over the passes along highways 101, 199, 299, and 36.

Those planning travel this weekend and early next week should keep informed of the latest weather forecast and road conditions.

For weather:  or 707-443-7062
For the most current road conditions on all California State highways, contact the Caltrans Highway Information Network (CHIN)  :   at 1-800-427-7623 (1-800-GAS-ROAD) or




UPDATED at 2:04 p.m.

HSU issues storm warning:


The Humboldt State University Police Department is urging students and the campus community at large to be prepared for a severe winter storm beginning Friday night that could strike with black ice, hail and snow on Highways 101, 299 and 36 this weekend. UPD is asking everyone on campus to consult the National Weather Service regularly at 707/443-7062 or Road conditions are available at 800/427-7623 or UPD recommends that motorists reduce speeds and carry traction devices such as chains or cables. The highest elevations of Route 101 approach 2,000 feet above sea level. Passes on Highways 299 and 36 exceed 3,000 feet. Those elevations are forecast to receive snow early Saturday morning. The National Weather Service reports that polar air over Alaska and northern Canada will envelop the Humboldt region through the middle of next week with snow levels projected to drop to about 1,000 feet by Saturday morning north of Cape Mendocino.


Paul Mann

News & Information





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Illegal gamecocks in Mack Town?

Here’s an unedited press release  just in from the Sheriff’s Department:

After an extensive investigation on Tuesday, December 9, 2008 at approximately 10:00 am deputies of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by the Humane Society of the United States, California Department of Justice, United States Marshall’s Office, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office, California Department of Food and Agriculture, and two State Veterinarian’s served a search warrant at two locations. One location was a farm in the 5400 block of Dows Prairie Road, McKinleyville, the other was at a residence in the 700 block of Crannell Road, McKinleyville. The Search Warrant was issued by the Humboldt County Superior Court, and was for investigation of the illegal possession of Gamecocks.


Upon serving the search warrant, deputies located approximately 2000 roosters at the Dows Prairie Road location. Also during their investigation officers located implements consistent with gamecock fighting, including items commonly known as gashers or slashers, trophies, magazines and steroids.


The roosters were all examined by the veterinarians and found to be in good health. Investigators are still on scene, processing the roosters.


No arrests have been made at this time, however suspect(s) have been identified and the case will be forwarded to the Humboldt County District Attorneys Office when completed for review and prosecution.


Possession of Gamecocks is a misdemeanor per 597j of the California Penal Code, possession of implements for fighting birds is also a misdemeanor per 597i of the California Penal Code.


Questions regarding Gamecock fighting may be directed to the United States Humane Society, Public Information Officer Jordan Crump, 1-301-546-7793, or the Humane Society of the United States Website.




                                     GARY PHILP, SHERIFF  







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