As I sit here writing this from Colorado, I can’t help but laugh bitterly as I read about the winter snow storm hitting the Seattle area this weekend.
Nearly a foot of snow also dumped on Denver this past week. And because I am still a Washingtonian at heart, I eagerly checked my phone approximately once every five minutes to see if the campuses where I teach had issued any campus closures.
But no—as soon as it began to snow, Colorado’s battalion of snowplows came out in full force and merrily and efficiently cleared the streets as soon as a mere half inch had gathered. “Campus will remain open today!” the University of Colorado tweeted. “More snow and below-freezing temps in the forecast, so bundle up!”
Bundle up, indeed. I can’t help feeling envious of my loved ones in the Seattle area right now as I watch the school closure alerts rolling in. (Here’s The Seattle Times’ list of closures and cancellations.) “How’s the snow storm coming?” I texted my mom earlier this morning. “Nothing yet!” she replied. “But the grocery store yesterday was as busy as at Christmas! SO EXCITED.”
However, despite my envy at the festive feeling in the air regarding, as Margaret put it, Snowmageddon, this storm is no joke. Everyone should take extra care to stay safe and warm this weekend. Seattle-area officials are cautioning residents to stay inside and avoid driving today or over the weekend. Additionally, here are several last-minute ways you can keep your home snug this weekend.
1. Charge your phone and other electronics now!
2. Keep your gutters clear.
Regularly maintaining your gutters keeps ice from accumulating and backing up under the shingles. You should also trim your trees year-round to prevent branches from falling on your house. If it hasn’t snowed too much yet in your area, you might want to give your gutters a checkup this afternoon.
3. Keep your sidewalk and walkways clear of snow and ice.
Make sure you have a sturdy snow shovel on hand. Additionally, here’s a list of pet-safe de-icing products. You can also use table salt, rock salt, or sea salt.
4. Keep your pipes warm.
To prevent your pipes from bursting, you can open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing, especially if your sinks are on an exterior wall. You can also let cold water drip from a faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe—even at a trickle—helps prevent pipes from freezing. Finally, if you can, keep your thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Consumer Reports cautions that “a cold snap is not the time to set back the thermostat at night to save a few bucks on your heating bill.”
5. Run your generators outside to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
6. Check your roof.
If you have time, consider buying a roof rake with a long handle so you can scrape up accumulating snow before these piles starts to become too heavy for your roof to handle.
7. Make sure you have an emergency kit.
First, keep a battery-powered or hand crank radio on hand. According to MyNorthwest, you can tune into stations like KIRO Radio for updates about storm conditions. In addition to a radio, home emergency kits should generally include:
one gallon of water per person for at least three days
a three-day supply of non-perishable food
a manual can opener
pet food and extra water for your pets
extra flashlights and batteries
a first aid kid
extra prescription medication
sleeping bags and warm blankets
a wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Stay warm, everyone! The Pickett Street Team hopes you all enjoy a cozy weekend at home.