As of Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Underwood To the editor:
At about 8:20 a.m. Sunday, July 21, I was about to enter Washington Highway 14 from Cook-Underwood Road.
Before I turned, I looked east and saw a black, menacing tornado-like cloud moving toward me. I didn’t know what it was at first, but as it drew closer I realized it was a coal train headed west on the tracks that closely parallel Highway 14 through the narrow Columbia River Gorge.
The fast-moving railcars loaded with coal, and the reported 25-30 mile-per-hour southwest winds created a forceful energy to lift large globs of coal dust from the loaded railcars into the air, obscuring visibility on the adjacent highway and rendering driving dangerous.
It took some time for the large clouds of coal dust to settle everywhere, including the White Salmon River estuary. The coal dust also invaded my car, made my eyes sore and ruined the rest of my day.