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Monday, November 10, 2014 - Page updated at 06:02 p.m.

Winter storms

Preparing for a winter storm

Assemble a disaster-supply kit.

• Have a corded telephone available: Cordless phones don't work without power.

• Have an alternative heat source.

• Consider purchasing a generator. Operate it only outside in a well-ventilated place.

• Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic, insulate walls and attics, and apply caulk and weather stripping to windows and doors.

• Clear rain gutters, repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could damage your home or other structures during a storm.

• Consider purchasing a pump to remove water.

• Insulate pipes and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. -- Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.


What to do if the power goes out

• Turn off lights and electrical appliances, except for the refrigerator and freezer.

• Unplug computers to protect them from possible surges when power is restored.

• Leave one lamp on so you know when power is restored. Wait at least 15 minutes after power is restored before turning on other appliances.

• Never use gas ovens, barbecues or portable propane or kerosene heaters for indoor heating: They use oxygen and create carbon monoxide that can cause suffocation.

• A refrigerator freezer will keep food frozen for up to a day without power. A separate, fully loaded freezer will keep food frozen for two days.

• Use an ice chest packed with ice to keep food cold. Buy dry ice to save frozen food.

How to stay safe when the power goes out

Source: King County, Seattle Times archives


Winter driving tips

Snow in the Puget Sound region is often wet and slick. Take extra care when driving:

• Before leaving home, check traffic and weather reports on TV, radio or websites. Statewide travel alerts and road conditions: www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/

• Clear snow and ice from car surfaces before driving. Snow on the hood can blow toward the windshield and block your view.

• Keep safety equipment, spare parts and food and water in the car. Keep your cellphone fully charged.

• Keep your fuel tank at least half full. Make sure your wiper-fluid reservoir isn't running low.

• Drive with headlights on.

• Slow down. If possible, avoid driving altogether.

• Even when roads are dry, watch out for icy bridges.

• Stay at least 15 car-lengths (200 feet) back from maintenance vehicles and plows, and don't pass them on the right.

• Don't use cruise control.

• Use brakes sparingly to avoid skidding.

• Don't pump anti-lock brakes to stop.

• If you need to pull over, the State Patrol asks you to stay with your vehicle, where you'll be safer. Call for help or hang a colorful piece of cloth from your window or antenna.

More winter driving tips at: www.wsdot.wa.gov/winter/

How to recover from a rear-wheel skid

More winter weather resources

Take Winter By Storm: Inclement weather preparedness tips and resources for Western Washington
http://takewinterbystorm.org/

How to protect pipes in cold weather
http://www.seattle.gov/util/myservices/drainagesewer/stormsflooding/freezingweather/

Snow and ice removal plan for unincorporated King County
http://www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/Roads/RoadsMaintenance/SnowAndIcePlan.aspx

Snowplow and sanding route plan for city of Seattle
http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/winterweather.htm

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