There was a fairly impressive little snowstorm on Saturday evening in the Seattle area, with more snow predicted from now till Christmas. Everyone I talked to was busy yesterday making sure they had enough candles, and those with wood burning fireplaces also got some extra wood. I heard he grocery stores were really full during the afternoon, with at least 15 people in line at the checkout stands.
As typically happens when the regular routine is broken, we had clients ask to see homes. In fact, we rearranged one appointment from Sunday to Saturday since it was supposed to storm...luckily! So Saturday morning I was down in Pioneer Square showing a lovely two-floor condo with a "secret stair" right into Pike Place Market...wow, I want it! Then Amy and I trekked around North Seattle in the afternoon with another client who wanted to see six homes. I must admit it's fun to be out when the world is covered with white! But we left it about an hour too long and ended up on the freeway for over an hour and a half instead of 20 minutes on the way home. The ice froze on my wipers so they weren't working, but when I finally stopped and cleared them off it was fine...I'll definitely do THAT sooner next time!
Woke up on the early side Sunday, around 6:30, and checked out the window...it wasn't snowing but the world was completely covered in white! The snow is is only about a foot or less it looks like, but it covers the roads so the details are invisible. I saw tire tracks so a car drove by the house sometime during the night...SUVs with 4 wheel drive are doing fine, my all-wheel drive did fine even on the ice.
But the weather report says more snow during the week! The Washington State Department of Health puts out a nice Emergency Resource Guide with excellent sections on every possible incident and a section on Weathering Storms. In terms of preparing for a winter storm, three of their tips are to Fill Your Gas Tank Before the Snow Starts Falling, Have Rock Salt on Hand, and Make Sure Your Fireplace Functions. I'm OK on gas, but I'll probably have to burn that chair I've never liked if the power goes out!
I checked out the During a Winter Storm section for tips, and here are some ways to make sure things go as well as possible for you and your family, some of their snowstorm tips:
- wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight warm closing instead of one layer of heavy clothing.
- wear mittens rather than gloves
- wear a warm woollen cap
- do not drive unnecessarily
- reduce the temperature in your home in order to conserve fuel
- heat only the areas in your home that you are using
- close doors and curtains or cover windows and doors with blankets
- use alternative heat methods
- NEVER use a gas/charcoal grill, hibachi or portable propane heater to cook indoors or heat the home (noxious fumes)
- when you're shoveling snow be careful as people can overexert themselves
- be sure to eat regularly...food provides calories that maintain body heat
- watch for signs of frostbite & hypothermia...slurred speech, disorientation, uncontrolled shivering, stumbling, drowsiness and body temp of 95 degrees F or less
- IF you become trapped outside, get out of the wind and stay dry. Build a lean-to or snow cave if nothing else is available. Do not eat snow, it will make you too cold.
- if you do go out in your vehicle, make sure somebody knows where you are going & stay on main roads
- if you must stop, remain in your vehicle, use a bright distress flag (or your hazard lights)
- if trapped in a blizzard clear your tail pipe & run your engine & heater for 10 minutes every hour...open your window slightly
- during night hours keep the dome light on in your car so rescue workers can spot it
- keep an emergency kit in your vehicle (include a 3 day water supply & non perishable food that can be eaten without being cooked...include a blanket or sleeping bag, flashlight, cell phone, shovel, sack of sand or kitty litter, booster cables, flare, coffee can with lid & toilet paper.)
And one more good website to check out would be the Take Winter by Storm site for breaking news alerts and updated information. "Take Winter by Storm was created to help you get prepared and stay informed when bad weather strikes this winter. The Web site is sponsored by a partnership that includes King County, the City of Seattle, Puget Sound Energy, State Farm Insurance and QFC."
OK, we're ready!