This falls first High Wind Warning, as well as the first Gale Warning for our coastal waters have both passed without major impact. It seems as though the coastal flooding of last winter, the last flood on the Nooksack, and the last snowfall are but distant memories after our summer.
But, it is time to get ready for “the season”. During our Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center Flood and Winter Storm meeting this week, we learned from the experts, scientists and National Weather Service that we can expect a more “normal” winter – which means we may get more snow, rain and winds than the last couple years.
Living in Whatcom County we know that these storms come throughout the season and this first storm is a great time to take stock and make sure you are prepared at home, work and at school:
Do you have enough food to last for week or two? Take a few minutes and check your house and see if your cupboards are bare. At home we checked ours and it looks like we will be able to go for a couple weeks.
Do you have water or fluids available? At work I keep five one gallon jugs of water under my desk. I just made sure they are full. At home we always keep a case or two of water from Costco around, and right now we have two full cases.
Does your kids school have its emergency plan ready? While our kids are grown, we do know that all the Whatcom County schools have emergency plans, and we know, for example, that the Ferndale School District is having a major exercise in mid-October to make sure they are prepared. If you have kids in school, stop in at the Principals Office and ask to see a copy of the plan.
While the first storm of the season has passed, it will not be the last. We will have wind storms, floods, and snow as part of our “normal winter”, so use this first one as the opportunity to check and make sure you are prepared.
And remember, be careful driving and watch for fallen trees, power lines and don’t drive through water that is over a road.
For more information, please contact your local emergency management office, or visit FEMA’s Ready Website (www.ready.gov) for valuable information and tips on getting prepared.