Snowstorm slams South Coast

2012-03-13T03:28:00Z 2012-03-15T12:23:33Z Snowstorm slams South CoastBy George Spohr, The World Coos Bay World
March 13, 2012 3:28 am  • 

A rare snowstorm dropped nearly half a foot of snow on some parts of the South Coast this morning, leaving thousands without power and making roads impassable.

Long-time residents say today’s storm brought the first significant amount of snow to the area since 1969.

“Second time in 31 years,” said Christine Widdifield of North Bend. “Crazy.”

“I have been here my whole life, and I agree with Christine,” said Robert Hamilton Jr. of Coos Bay. “Second good snow since ’69.”

More than 3 inches of the heavy, wet snow felled trees and power lines, causing headaches for Pacific Power. About 1 a.m., more than 7,000 customers were without power in the Coos Bay, North Bend and Bandon areas.

By 3 a.m., the utility was reporting that 11,000 customers were without power, mostly in pockets scattered across southwestern Oregon.

"We weren't prepared for this at all, and we have a 2-year-old," Kimberly Humbert of Coos Bay said. "We are cold out here and no power.”

Crews worked quickly to restore power, which went off and on faster than some could post about it on Facebook.

Asked if anyone lost power, Erin Thomsen Feddersen of Coos Bay replied: “I did, and I live by The World. Oh wait, it just came back on.”

The power couldn’t come on quickly enough for Jennifer Hermann Trosper’s son.

“Woke up to an upset 3-year-old because his nightlight and music was not on,” she said. “He just turned 3 and doesn’t understand that we have no control over this. Had to throw some extra blankets on him, too. Brrr!”

She woke up at 3 a.m. and her phone’s battery had depleted to 88 percent.

“I guess that means power had been out for awhile,” said Trosper, who lives near Broadway in North Bend.

Roads were largely impassable, with accidents reported across the region. Even well-traveled roads, like Commercial Avenue downtown, were unplowed and slick.

The snow capped a storm that on Monday brought wind gusts of more than 50 mph and heavy rain.

It was unclear if the weather played a role in a fire that apparently started near a power generator at South Coast Education Service District’s building on Teakwood Avenue. Firefighters spent more than two hours battling the blaze.

Monday night, United Airlines’ last flight of the day from San Francisco to Southwest Oregon Regional Airport was diverted to Portland. Passengers spent the night at the airport and were told they would be flown to North Bend later this morning.

The airline was reporting its first flight of the day from North Bend — the 8:47 a.m. departure from San Francisco — would leave on time. The airport has de-icing equipment.

Copyright 2016 Coos Bay World. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(13) Comments

  1. Postal Mark
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    Postal Mark - March 16, 2012 8:12 pm
    I am in agreement with those who remember more recent storms dropping more than this one did. I have worked for the post office for 30 years and this was nothing compared to the late 80s. All postal vehicles were required to chain up for in-town delivery, and even then some hills didn't get delivery. This time, I think one vehicle chained up, and that was at the request of the individual driver. 90s same thing...chains and undelivered mail. Nothing close to that this time in town.
  2. The Brutal Truth
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    The Brutal Truth - March 14, 2012 11:54 am
    I think March 1998 we had a pretty good snowfall, as well.
  3. Local Jerk
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    Local Jerk - March 14, 2012 6:06 am
    Here's a thought folks. Remember when they buried gas lines to everybody? Money! Why didn't you bury your electrical work? Why didn't you bury the power lines? You want infrastructure projects? Bury your power lines. Look - storm coming - again? - what makes you think more storms won't come? Buried lines DON"T BLOW DOWN! Hello - anybody there?????? Is your local government insane? Defined: as doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results! Hello - anybody there?
  4. Forgot
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    Forgot - March 13, 2012 6:31 pm
    February of '88 was what I recall. Lived in Allegany at the time and we were snowed in for at least 3 days up the west fork.
  5. cooscountypast
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    cooscountypast - March 13, 2012 6:16 pm
    Are you kidding me?! first of all...i lived in Coos County for over 27 years and in those years i remember 2 significant snowfalls, one in the 80's and the other in the late 90's...and for you who think this was a "blizzard", try living ANYWHERE else in the U.S., besides in the south, and they would think you all are crazy! 4-6 inches of snow in ONE winter is nothing! Stop compaining and enjoy the little bit of snow you have!
  6. giPaDmorFgiwS
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    giPaDmorFgiwS - March 13, 2012 4:06 pm
    No no you have it all wrong. This was a blizzard & we need more disaster aide.
  7. Mark Smith
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    Mark Smith - March 13, 2012 11:59 am
    Where are the pictures of this storm? Nothing quite like a good late season snow storm (In case you aare ready to camp lol)
  8. MityQ
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    MityQ - March 13, 2012 11:33 am
    I have a picture of one in the 80's too. My brother was getting ready to throw a snowball at who ever was taking the picture and you couldn't make out much of anything because how deep the snow was. I remember a good snow storm in the early 90's too. I think I was in 7th or 8th grade. Dumped buckets of snow and made the schools close early.
  9. ShallowAl
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    ShallowAl - March 13, 2012 11:11 am
    I beg to differ. This little storm was nothing at all like the storms of 1969. When did nearly 3 inches of snow become almost half a foot?
  10. Coquillian
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    Coquillian - March 13, 2012 10:57 am
    We've had significant snow many other years, including 1991 when it was only 10 degrees for a week.
  11. truthtellerschitlan
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    truthtellerschitlan - March 13, 2012 10:12 am
    I know right (@ CB Lifer....) I am only 33 and I remember a really good snow once too! Definitely in the 80's and it lasted longer than this will. In fact we just few years ago had about this much snow too, I have pictures of it. It was during November,not this last but yr before. What in the world are they in a fog. They should of interviewed us! ;o)
  12. Ironmanpb
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    Ironmanpb - March 13, 2012 9:24 am
    you are right CBLIFER!!!! back in 87 we had about a foot of snow!!! They allowed 3 and 4 wheelers into town to get supplies!! it was so much fun!!!
  13. CB Lifer
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    CB Lifer - March 13, 2012 8:28 am
    I have lived here my whole life, and back in the early 80's I lived out in Barview area, and we had 6-8 inches of snow. Where was everyone? I even have pictures to prove it! 1969 was a good snow, but we had almost as much in the 80's, and '69 was more snow than this, and the 80's was probably a little more than this. Just saying
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