Are You Ready For Winter?

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Winter Snowstorm
Winter Snowstorm In Eugene | photo by Tim Chuey

Many years ago local author Bob Welch brought up an interesting subject. He was discussing how people living in the Willamette Valley will just hop into their car when it is a nice mild day, say in Eugene, wearing a tank-top, shorts and flip-flops and head out to SunRiver or some other spot to the east of the mountains expecting to have similar weather at their destination. For some reason they don’t even consider that they could have car trouble or some other problem that would force them to be stranded in mountains or elsewhere totally unprepared for the potentially dangerous weather there. That is an extreme case, but how many times do we act in a similar way, no matter where we are going, ignoring the possibility of being out in the elements wherever we may be because it seems fine at the start of our journey?

You Need To Be Prepared | Image by followgreenliving.com
You Need To Be Prepared | Image by followgreenliving.com

Institutions like schools, hospitals, businesses, etc. have plans for what to do and what not to do in emergencies, but what about you and your family? You need to have plans already made so that your whole family knows what to do. A good example might be if a tree falls onto your roof. Your family needs to evacuate the house, but where should they go and what should be done next? The same also is true when a fire or earthquake occurs. If you have a plan your chances of survival increase incrementally. Home fire drills and earthquake drills are also on the list of “must do” items to be practiced.

The reason I bring this up is that we are in the midst of Autumn with Winter just a stone’s throw away and we need to be reminded how we should be prepared. This week is Pacific Northwest (including Oregon, Washington and Idaho) Winter Awareness Week. The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Portland (WSFO) has important informational links for each day this week to give us the heads-up on how to keep safe in our Winter weather.

Snow Falling 1 PM 2/6/14 Elevation 600 ft. | Photo by Tim Chuey
Snow Falling 1 PM 2/6/14 Elevation 600 ft. | Photo by Tim Chuey

According to the Weather Service “Each year, dozens of Americans die due prolonged exposure to the cold. Major storms can last several days, and be accompanied by strong winds, freezing rain or sleet, heavy snowfall, cold temperatures, and various forms of flooding.”

The links start with Sunday November 9th, but you can watch them all at once right now if you choose to do so, or you can click on each link and pick the day of the week you want to see, starting with the Introduction to Winter Weather Awareness.

Monday’s link Winter Weather Safety and Terminology discusses the various types of serious Winter weather and what you you need to do to stay safe and warm.

The link for Tuesday (which is Veterans Day) is called Watch, Warning, or Advisory? What do they mean? points out the various watches, warnings, and advisories that can be issued during the Winter months.

Wednesday’s link is called The many Faces of Winter Storms which matches up the watch, warning, and advisory categories to the kind of weather conditions and hazards you can expect when each one is issued.

The link for Thursday lists all you need to know about Floods and Flash Floods and some weather history.

Downed Tree
My Neighbor’s Tree Blown Down By Wind  3/28/12 | photo by Tim Chuey

Friday’s link discusses Wind Storms and the final link for Saturday has more Information and things you need to know including contact information for the various Weather Service offices in the Pacific Northwest.

Please take a good look at these links and make sure you abide by them. The preparedness information will help keep you safe during our often unpredictable Winter weather in the Pacific Northwest.

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].

Tim Chuey is a Member of the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association and has been Awarded Seals of Approval for television weathercasting from both organizations.

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