The season's first blast of cold, icy weather and possibly snow is in the weekend forecast, so has been busy getting plows, sanding trucks and de-icing equipment ready for the new, annexation-enlarged Kirkland.
And it also offers a few ideas on how residents can prepare, not only for old man winter, but for any emergency.
"Currently, we have equipment that is either set up or being set up for snow and ice control," said John Hopfauf, manager of the Public Works Department's Street Division. "We're anticipating we'll see probably more frost than snow accumulation, so for this weekend, we're set up and ready to go with de-icing. We will be out on our lifeline routes."
Hopfauf said Thursday that the city is expecting delivery any time now of a new de-icing machine, which will be mounted on a truck already in the city motor pool and will give Kirkland two de-icing rigs.
Kirkland's road-clearing priority list starts with routes around , then moves on to major east-west and north-south arterials. See the attached map for priority roads, as well as trouble-prone streets the city closes during ice and snow events, now updated to include the annexation neighborhoods of Kingsgate, north Juanita and Finn Hill.
They city has never had to deal with keeping open streets in the new neighborhoods, and some of them are troublesome indeed when the cold winds blow -- take slippery Juanita Drive on top of Finn Hill. But Hopfauf said Public Works crews have long since consulted with the county roads folks who did that work in the past.
"Early on, even before annexation, we knew what the county's storm routes were in the annexation areas," he said. But "this is our first winter in the new neighborhoods, and there will be a learning curve."
The weekend forecast is not calling for a full-on Arctic blast, with snow levels dropping from 800 feet Friday night to 200 feet Sunday morning, and little or no snow acculumation expected. But the mercury is expected to drop to 29 degrees F. Saturday night and Sunday morning, and streets definitely could get icy.
So now is as good as any time to take stock in how well you and your household are prepared. Kirkland's web pages are full of information on preparing for emergencies. The following are some of the basics.
Emergency preparations list
- Make a plan, including two ways out of every room and a meeting place for family members outside, then practice the plan.
- Stock at least several days of emergency supplies at home and work, in vehicles and anywhere you regularly spend time.
- Equip your home with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and fire escape ladders, and test them regularly.
- Establish an out-of-area emergency contact and share the information with your loved ones.
- Maintain your ability to send and receive information wherever you are, with a battery operated or wind-up radio, a cell phone and a weather radio.
- Prepare for power outages by knowing where your utility shut-offs are, keeping flashlights and extra batteries in your emergency kit.
- Get First Aid and CPR training. A basic CPR class is available through Kirkland Parks and Community Services Department.
- Post emergency numbers by phones/e-addresses by computers.
Emergency supply kit list
- One gallon of water per person for at lesast three days
- First aid kit – freshly stocked
- Food, packaged or canned
- Can opener
- Blankets, sleeping bags
- Portable radio, flashlight and spare batteries
- Essential medications and glasses
- Fire extinquisher – A-B-C type
Key web sites and phone numbers
- Kirkland emergency hot line (recorded information): 425-587-3767
- Puget Sound Energy: 1-888-225-5773
- King County-wide travel alerts: http://gismaps.kingcounty.gov/roadalert/
- Regional Public Information Network: http://www.rpin.org/rpinweb/
- National Weather Service, Seattle: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/sew/
- Lake Washington School District: www.lwsd.org; 425-936-1200