Home Prepare Winter Storms

Winter Weather Wisdom Print E-mail


1. Use Common Sense: 

  • As is always the case, please keep an eye on your neighbors, friends, and family.
  • Check in with weather forecasts periodically.  

2. Take precautions to keep your pipes from freezing, including:

  • Keep a steady drip of water running from the faucets located furthest from where your water enters your house.
  • Keep cupboard or other doors open to expose pipes to indoor heat.
  • Keep indoor heat on, even during vacations.
  • Insulate pipes, particularly those on north walls.
  • If your water stops running, your pipes are likely frozen. Use care as things thaw, and know how to shut your water off in case major leaks develop.
  • If you aren't at home, have someone set up to keep an eye on your house, especially if the power goes out. 

3. If you need a portable heater to help stay warm inside, follow these precautions:

  • Be extremely wary of fire, keeping your heater well clear of all flammable materials.
  • Be sure to use a heater according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Make sure portable heaters are set on a firm, steady base.
  • Use fuel-burning space heaters only with adequate ventilation.
  • Electric space heaters should be properly grounded. Make certain they are plugged into a circuit that can handle the load.
  • Never use a gas stove, electric range, or a charcoal grill as a heater.
  • Only use fuels for which your space heater has been designed.

4. If snow should fall or the sidewalks and roads turn icy, keep the following in mind:

  • Walk carefully on ice. Every time snow or ice falls, multiple islanders end up in the hospital due to falls. Be careful.
  • Don't drive unless absolutely necessary.
  • Please don't drive on roads that have yet to be plowed. This only makes it harder for the road crews.
  • Remember, road crews can't clear private roads. Neighborhoods with private road access should have a plan in place to clear as needed.
  • If your car becomes stuck, try to get it as far off the road as possible. Cars left in the roadway may be moved or towed by emergency responders.

5. And finally, some winter driving tips, courtesy of the WA State Department of Transportation:

  • Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights – even the hood and roof – before driving.
  • Pay attention. Don't try to out-drive the conditions. Remember the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.
  • Leave plenty of room for stopping.
  • Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows – stay back at least 200 feet.
  • Use brakes carefully. Brake early. Don't stomp on the brakes. It takes more time to stop in adverse conditions.
  • Don't get overconfident in your 4x4 vehicle. Remember that your four-wheel drive vehicle may help you get going quicker than other vehicles but it won't help you stop any faster. Many 4x4 vehicles are heavier than passenger vehicles and actually may take longer to stop. Don't get overconfident with your 4x4 vehicle's traction. Your 4x4 can lose traction as quickly as a two-wheel drive vehicle.
  • Don't pump anti-lock brakes. If your car is equipped with anti-lock brakes, do not pump brakes in attempting to stop. The right way is to “stomp and steer".
  • Remember that trucks are heavier than cars. Trucks take longer to safely respond and come to a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
  • Go slow! Drive according to conditions.