EVERETT, Wash., February 7, 2019 – Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers has preemptively declared an emergency, effective Friday, Feb. 8 at 8:00 a.m., as the community braces for what weather experts say may be a pair of powerful winter storms.
Multiple storms bringing heavy snowfall, sub-freezing temperatures and winds gusting up to 45 mph are expected. Snow is forecast to begin sticking on roads by Friday afternoon and another round of harsh weather is expected Monday.
The expected storms are coming on the heels of a strong snow storm that shut down major routes and knocked out power to thousands of homes earlier this week.
The emergency declaration is a necessary step in mobilizing county resources and providing a more flexible and effective response.
“The safety of our residents is always our highest priority,” said Somers. ”We’d much rather be prepared and not have a major event than the alternative. The storms headed this way have the potential to create terrible road conditions and power outages. I’d ask our neighbors to prepare now and make sure they have enough supplies to last for the duration of the storms.”
Snohomish County Emergency Management Director Jason Biermann said “Get your grocery shopping done before the roads become more difficult to drive. Top off the gas tanks in your cars or other vehicles. Protect your pets from the cold. Check on elderly neighbors and those with special needs. They may need your help getting ready, too.”
Snohomish County will make any announcements tomorrow regarding potential office closures. The Snohomish County Courthouse in Everett will remain open on Friday from 8:00 a.m.to 5:00 p.m. regardless of weather.
With so many Snohomish County homes heated by electricity, power outages are a major concern, particularly with the forecasts calling for cold temperatures, heavy snows and wind that could put trees into power lines.
The Snohomish County PUD asks that outages be reported to 425-783-1001 or outagemap.snopud.com.
Snohomish County Road Maintenance crews will be fully staffed around the clock as the storms arrive, with crews working 12-hour shifts plowing and applying sand. Up to 40 plows are scheduled to be working on unincorporated roads at any given time.
Even so, county officials are hopeful that people will decide to park their cars and stay home this weekend. That not only helps keep the roads clear for crews driving sanding trucks and plows, it also makes it easier for emergency responders to reach people who need immediate help.
“It’s a good idea to plan to stay home,” Biermann said. “The snow is likely to stick around. Give yourself a break from dangerous conditions."