The Puget Sound area has been warned. The Seattle Times had an article on December 3rd: "Prepare for a cold, windy La Niña winter, officials warn". The article states "Seattle and the Pacific Northwest should brace for a colder and wetter than average winter due to the the effect of La Niña." That's only one of several similar articles I have read in the last several months with the warning. Well we have seen both the snow and tons of rain so far. There are flood warnings for the Puget Sound for this second weekend in December. And, we were lucky to also have our first snow storm before Thanksgiving this year. That was a rare and beautiful occurrence. Our temperatures even dropped to the teens.
Well, I absolutely LOVE snow. I find myself in the minority among my co-workers. Most of my colleagues shudder when our highly-paid-and-frequently-inaccurate meteorologists predict snow in our area. People go nuts. Our freeways turn into parking lots and TV reporters stand on street corners all over the area showing snow in the lamp light and showing how deep it is in Monroe, North Bend, Washougal, or Olalla. The schools close, libraries close, furniture stores close, and people rush to leave work early. The radio and TV become minute-by-minute relayers of the closures. I don't know if the insanity comes from the fact we don't get enough of the white stuff in a typical year for anyone to keep snow gear in their cars and learn how to drive in the stuff, or if it is because the terrain is so hilly and our DOT doesn't have a lot of snow removal equipment (so very rarely needed). Regardless, the situation gets dire around here.
But I love it. I love the quiet sound of the snow falling at night. Sometimes you can almost hear it. I love the crisp crunch of snow under my feet. I love the sound of kids, off of school, playing in the snow; laughing, shouting, throwing snowballs and making forts and snowmen. It's a spectacular.
I'm also very glad we have prepared for the accompanying power outages and inability to make it to the store when the roads freeze over or they are closed due to flooding issues.
Here's some ideas of things to do to prepare for the wintery weather we're predicted to have (compiled from a variety of sources (East Pierce Fire & Rescue Newsletter, Seattle Times, and Red Cross). I won't re-create the must-have lists that you can find all over the internet, but here's a few other things to keep in mind:
1. Keep your car fueled up. There were many stories of cars running out of gas during the November snow storm as they sat in their cars in traffic. Keep blankets and some snack bars in your car in case you get stuck.
2. If using a generator or other heat source make sure it is properly vented so fumes don't build up.
3. Keep food, water and cash on hand to last at least 3 days minimum (FEMA and Red Cross recommendation). However, I don't think 3 days is enough for around here. I would recommend that everyone have 7 to 10 days minimum given that there are times when power outages last much longer than 3 days. If you are in an area with widespread outages, the cash machines and cash registers may not work, so having cash on hand is important to purchase items as you run out.
4. Keep a first aid kit fully stocked.
5. I heard suggested that those little headlamp LED lights are very useful for power outages so you can still use your hands instead of holding bulky flashlights or lanterns.
6. Make sure you have your prescriptions and other medications on hand to last for the duration of an outage.
Other useful sites: