Submitted by Thurston County Board of County Commissioners
Maintenance crews at the Public Works Department are gearing up for a second round of winter weather. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for Thurston County beginning this evening through Saturday afternoon. The storm is expected to bring four to six inches of new snow to the region.
“We are prepared to run snowplows both day and night throughout the weekend, and into next week if needed,” said Lucy Mills, Roads Operations Division Manager for Thurston County Public Works.
Expanded operations, including 24-hour schedules for county road crews, began this morning. Road Operations regularly maintains a fleet of plows, anti-icing trucks and graders for significant weather events and have spent the past week stockpiling sand and anti-icing agents in anticipation of additional snow accumulations.
“When we clear county roads, priority is given to major arterials and those connecting emergency services. We ask our residents to be patient this weekend and know that we are doing everything we can to clear roads as safe and efficiently as possible,” added Mills.
Information about roads, including up-to-date information about road closures, snow and ice removal maps, and answers to frequently asked questions can be found on the Thurston County Public Works Winter and Storm Response website. The Public Works Department also provides real-time information about roads on twitter @Thurston_PW.
Mills added that, in the event of significant snow accumulations, the best option for residents is to stay at home. However, if traveling is necessary, make sure to drive with adequate snow tires or chains and remember to stay a safe distance away from snowplows operating on roads.
In anticipation of the upcoming snow, the Solid Waste Division is also closing the Rainer and Rochester Drop-Box Facilities for the weekend. The Waste and Recovery Center (WARC) is currently scheduled to be open during normal operating hours. However, WARC staff will monitor weather conditions and respond as necessary, which may include early closure.
With heavy snow and colder temperatures, Thurston County Emergency Management advises residents to take the following precautions.
- In case of power outages: Do not run a generator or burn charcoal in an enclosed space. Never operate an unvented gas-burning appliance in a closed room or in a room in which you are sleeping. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide buildup from burning charcoal or a running generator.
- Do not walk across or touch downed power lines.
- Avoid overexertion. Pace yourself when shoveling snow.
- Clear flat roofs of snow.
- Check on elderly friends and neighbors—before, during, and after extreme weather events.
- Avoid driving in snowy or icy conditions. If you must drive, keep an emergency kit in your car that includes bottled water and high energy, non-perishable food, an extra blanket, warm clothes, a battery-powered flashlight and extra batteries. Also, please let a friend or relative know when you’re leaving, your destination, and when you expect to arrive.
- Protect your pets by keeping them sheltered from the cold.
- Stay tuned to local media for updates and advisories. Keep a battery-powered radio and extra batteries handy.
Details on emergency preparedness are available from the Thurston County Emergency Management office at 360-867-2800 or online at www.co.thurston.wa.us/em. You can also follow Emergency Management on Facebook at /ThurstonEM and Twitter at @_ThurstonEM