The 2012 storm season is shaping up to have a weather pattern similar to 2006, which brought with it heavy rain, flooding, wind storms and snow — not to mention the infamous Hanukkah Eve Storm that affected 1.5 million Western Washington residents and businesses and left parts of Mercer Island without power for over a week.
Puget Sound Energy crews have been working over the past several weeks along Island Crest Way to lessen the likelihood of trees knocking out power to residents, which happens nearly every winter for carying lengths of time. Last winter, an ice storm brought down power lines and knocked out power to over 1,000 homes on Jan. 19, and some homes were left in the dark for 3-4 days.
To minimize the likelihood of tree-related power outages, PSE, has been busy the past month trimming vegetation away from overhead power lines. In 2012, Western Washington utilty providers PSE, Seattle City Light and Snohomish PUD trimmed trees away from approximately 4,350 miles of power lines.
“We work hard during the year to minimize outages as much as possible, especially during storm season,” said Andy Wappler, spokesperson for PSE. “Outages can still occur when the winds blow and it’s important for families and businesses to be prepared so they can remain safe when that happens.”
While local utilities do their part to maintain the local energy systems and infrastructure year-round, they rely on their customers to help them maintain trees near power lines as well. The public can help their local utilities decrease tree-related power outages in their communities by reporting trees in danger of falling into power lines, cooperating with utilities to trim and remove trees on private property, and planting the right tree in the right place near energy equipment to ensure tree species do not have the potential to come in contact with nearby power lines.
Simple steps such as creating an emergency kit, making a plan for emergencies and staying informed can keep families and pets safe during bad weather and emergencies (see the "Take Winter by Storm" Emergency Checklist attached as a PDF file to this story).
To help plan for emergencies due to a loss of power or storm damage, a collaborative, public-private effort spanning Western Washington called "Take Winter By Storm" was established to get the public information they needed to help prepare by putting an extensive amount of information online (and found by clicking here).
Here are some safety tips from the Take Winter By Storm emergency preparedness program:
- The public is encouraged to take the following actions in preparation to be storm ready:
- Create an emergency preparedness kit with at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and water for your home and office. Kits prepared for vehicle road travel and winter weather evacuation go-kits are also advised.
- Make an emergency plan and practice it with your family and those who depend on you – including animals.
- Stay informed and monitor the weather approaching so you are prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws our way.
- Visit TakeWinterByStorm.org for more information and helpful resources, such as a downloadable preparedness and maintenance checklists and emergency contact cards.
- You can find Take Winter By Storm on TV, radio, the Internet, as well as on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter or using hashtags #stormready or #winterprep
(Ed. Note: This information was take from a Take Winter By Storm press release.)