SHERIDAN — Snowfall, flooding and pipeline emergencies are potential hazards facing Sheridan residents in the upcoming year, and the Sheridan Local Emergency Planning Committee is looking into ways to mitigate risk for the community.
The predicted heavy snowfall — that may be holding out for later in the winter season due to an El Niño — has the LEPC concerned about major flooding because of the warmer weather.
During the group’s monthly meeting, LEPC Chairman Steve Small reminded members of the mid-2000s, which experienced a similar weather pattern to this year.
“We flooded in ‘05, ‘07, ‘10,” Small said. “What happens is we’ll see bare ground probably, like, the end of this month, maybe into February, and about the third week in March all heck breaks loose. We get buried with wet snow for four to six weeks and we start getting about eight to 10 inches of rainfall after that when it warms up, and then it comes down from the mountains.”
Heavy snowfall, if and when it arrives, will affect other services, as well, including the Sheridan Veterans Affairs Health Care System.
Sgt. Gene Hale, with SVAHCS law enforcement, said his crew practiced emergency drills in the event of heavy snowfall that prevents snowplows from removing snow from the property in a timely manner. The goal of these drills is for the staff to be self sufficient for many days at a time. Closing off the building to conserve heat, having enough food to feed people on stations and in the building were some of the survival tactics discussed within some of the drills.
Small said the potential for flooding and wildfires are both high this year because of the snowfall pattern. Because of that potential, LEPC will hold a flood meeting March 9 to discuss strategies and plans for potential high flooding in the county.