Let it snow? Getting ready for winter weather in Edmonds

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With snow in the forecast for this weekend, it’s time to recap the procedures for those who live, work, drive or go to school in Edmonds. Even if it doesn’t snow (and you know that’s possible, no matter what the predictions), it’s good to be prepared, as a cold winter is expected.

First, for those attempting to navigate slippery Edmonds streets, know that the City’s Public Works Department employs both large and small truck plows. Every fall, the city does “a very thorough maintenance” on the trucks and plows to ensure they are ready for winter, according to Public Works Director Phil Williams. Also on the city’s checklist: making sure that adequate sand is on site and replenishing the stock of de-ice chemical, which Williams describes as ” the environmentally friendly variety.”

“We also review all winter procedures with our crews, including our Emergency Operations Plan should a winter weather event escalate,” he said.

Citizens should double check that their own vehicles are prepared for snow and ice, Williams advised. Check the status of winter tires and tire chains and review procedures for  mounting them; flush the heating/cooling system as necessary; make sure you have working headlamps and charged batteries; and include a supply of flashlights and spare clothing in your vehicle in case you are stuck in the snow.

Also important, he said, is to “realistically appraise your own capabilities, those of your vehicle, the current weather conditions, the route you are considering, and all other relevant factors before you decide to leave home. Public transit options can be a better choice in winter conditions.”  And, “don’t be in a hurry,” he added.

If you have a child attending Edmonds public schools, you should be receiving through your student the Edmonds School District’s 2010-11 Weather Emergency Notice (.pdf), which includes information about where to find announcements about any delays or cancellations of school. You can also find  a listing of each school’s limited bus transportation routes on the district’s transportation website. These routes are used on days when the district is operating two hours late, with limited bus transportation routes. The school-specific routes are printed on the reverse side of the Weather Emergency Notice sent home with students.

How does the school district decide whether to delay the start of school or cancel classes? When bad weather hits, ESD staff drive the roads in the early morning hours with the goal of ensuring the safety of all 20,000 students, the district said in a recent email, noting that the 35-square miles of its territory is diverse geographically: “What one family may experience outside their window can be very different from what another family on the other side of the district is experiencing.”

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