Winter has certainly arrived for the Northwest, and Columbia Banks hopes our communities are making the most of this snow-filled, chilly season. Before the season gets too far underway, consider these helpful tips for making the most of this winter wonder-time.
Storm Readiness: Our storm season kicked off early, and forecasts show continuing patterns of strong winter weather. It’s critical that you prepare for all kinds of storms. Scour websites of major, established institutions such as the Red Cross and the National Weather Service to learn how to endure all kinds of winter weather scenarios. Purchase an emergency kit for both your car and your home. If you already own one, review the contents and ensure all the items are in working order. If you didn’t do so in autumn, have mechanics inspect your automobiles and technicians check your home systems to ensure everything is in working order. Develop a contingency plan for possible weather-related situations and sit down and discuss the plan with everyone who lives in your house.
Know Before You Drive: Knowing the severity and type of storm can make all the difference during dangerous conditions on the road. A small swell can grow into a monster blizzard. Understand the severity of a storm and what its impacts might be, such as road, bridge, or pass closures, before traveling anywhere. Stay connected with local and regional news organizations. Social media delivers news faster than other media, so add your preferred news sources’ Facebook and Twitter accounts to receive their latest updates in your feeds. Finally and importantly, share travel plans with your loved ones if you’re traveling long distances or on tricky terrain— don’t forget to check in on occasion to avoid unnecessary worry.
Man’s Best Friend: Our furry little friends need help during the winter as well. Animal support associations like the ASPCA and the Humane Society provide excellent advice for caring for your pets. Like humans, the bodies of dogs, cats, and other critters become susceptible to issues such as dehydration, hypothermia, frostbite, and other outdoor-related conditions. Be cautious about letting them outside for too long to avoid any unnecessary exposure. To ensure their well-being, bring outdoor animals in as much as possible during the harshest times. For pets with shorter-haired coats, invest in pet-sized sweaters or jackets to keep them warm. Watch for unusual behaviors, such as shivers, stumbling, or lack of coordination, as these may be signs of weather-related illness. Avoid any metallic items, which might stick to tongues in freezing temperatures. And of course, good diet and frequent water are vital to maintaining good pet health.
Stay Home: When in doubt, sit the storm out. Unless you have critical business, the prudent decision is to remain indoors during any time of winter weather. Risks surround us: broken down cars, icy bridges, unscalable hills, and a whole list of unpredictable hazards waiting for an accidental passenger. Instead, elect for indoor alternatives instead of outdoor activities. Cook dinner at home instead of dining at a restaurant. Throw a family game night or an evening at home with an old movie. Grab a few books from the local library to read when shut in on wintry nights.
#OptOutside: All that said, some times the best solution is to relish the freezing weather. Nature advocate and local Northwest corporation REI has the right idea encouraging everyone to get outdoors. When safe and appropriate, plan an adventure that gets you out of your homes and exploring this great region. Heavy snowfall has greatly replenished our mountain resorts. Dress appropriately with plenty of layers and waterproof attire. Choose group activities in safe locations to ensure everyone remains safe. Engaging in the outdoors boosts physical health through exercise, promotes mental health by diminishing effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder, and builds memories for you and your loved ones to share.
With the right plan of action and a few thoughtful ideas, winter can be just as welcoming as any other time of the year. Stay safe, and here’s to a wonderful winter!
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