Winter in the Pacific Northwest can be unpredictable, bringing nearly every type of winter weather from snow and ice to heavy rain and even dangerous wind chill. The City of Bellingham pays close attention to the weather to ensure safety for our citizens. Public Works crews are ready to respond to winter conditions.
Now is a good time for all individuals, families and businesses to review winter weather preparedness plans and take the time to prepare cars, homes and ourselves for possible winter storms.
Driving Safety Tips
- Ride a Whatcom Transportation Authority bus.
- Drive only when you really need to.
- Avoid driving through standing water.
- Drive for the conditions using slower speeds and gentle acceleration.
- Allow extra time to reach your destination.
- Use your headlights.
- Leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front of you.
- Watch out for workers in the roadway.
Winter Driving Resources
- Downed power lines (PDF)
- Winter driving safety video
- Washington State Department of Transportation 2015-16 Winter Driving Guide (PDF)
- Check current mountain pass conditions on the Washington State Department of Transportation website, or call 511 on a mobile phone.
Winterizing your home
Winterizing your home to protect your water service is one important preparation often overlooked in Whatcom County. A severe cold snap can lead to frozen or broken pipes. Frozen water pipes can stop water service and be expensive to repair or replace. With thoughtful preparation you can prevent freezing or bursting pipes. Here are some steps to help you avoid such an emergency:
- Know the location of your water shutoff valve.
- If you leave for the winter, have your water utility shutoff the water service. Drain your system.
- Disconnect and drain garden hoses and inground irrigation systems.
- Insulate any pipes or faucets that are located outside or in unheated areas including attics, garages and crawl spaces.
- Use heat tape or a molded pipe insulation sleeve.
If your pipes do freeze, place a warm towel or rag around the pipe or try a hair dryer with a low setting. Never thaw a frozen pipe with a torch or open flame because of the potential fire hazard.
If your pipes break, shut off your water and water heater. If you are unable to locate the shut off valve to stop the water, call your local water purveyor for support. For City of Bellingham water customers, contact the Operations Division, 778-7700.
Preparing for winter weather
- Disaster preparedness for individuals, families, neighborhoods, schools, businesses and more (Whatcom Unified Emergency Management)
- Puget Sound Energy Outage Map
Stay safe and prepare for winter weather. For more information, call Public Works at (360) 778-7901.