Residents advised to prepare for storms

The Pacific Northwest’s record-breaking, dry, warm fall weather is about to take a turn, meaning winter storms are not far away. Take Winter By Storm – a campaign to help residents get prepared before bad weather strikes – and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) joined forces to launch the annual preparedness campaign and urge people to take action.

In past years that featured similar conditions, such as 2006 and 2009, the dry weather changed dramatically, bringing heavy rain, flooding, wind storms and snow.

“The bottom line,” says Ted Buehner, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with NOAA’s National Weather Service Seattle, “citizens need to be ready in advance, and watch, listen and monitor weather forecasts. Don’t wait until the storm strikes to prepare – that’s too late!”

Helping the effort to educate residents about the importance of winter weather preparedness is returning local icon The Wheedle. The large, round, furry creature and former sports mascot has been gifted to the Take Winter By Storm campaign by “Wheedle on the Needle” author Stephen Cosgrove. As the story goes, Wheedle’s bright red nose blinks at the top of the Space Needle for all to see.

Wheedle will be appearing at various events throughout the region and will be the main character in educational outreach to school children and their families about winter weather preparedness.

The Take Winter By Storm website,, is a one-stop emergency preparedness information hub that includes safety tips and regional resources related to high winds, heavy rain, snow, freezing conditions, power outages, flooding and more.

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 a plan and practice the plan with your family and those who depend on you.

- Stay informed and monitor the weather approaching so you are prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws our way.


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