Jan. 20, 2012
Clear storm drains and watch for falling branches
King County urges residents to stay safe and check-in with neighbors as warmer, wetter weather brings new challenges
King County residents are waking up to a fifth day of weather-related challenges including power outages, slippery roads and reduced bus service. A mix of rain, sleet, and snow continues to fall in the region. As temperatures rise residents should use caution if they must commute to work, and are urged to telecommute on Friday, if possible. Many roads are still covered with snow and ice. More warming shelters have been opened to assist those without power.
Those who must travel today should be patient and take it slow. Watch for falling ice and tree branches. Stay away from downed power lines. Make safety your first concern.
King County operations: Some King County agencies are reporting altered operations for Friday. Updated closures are posted online in real time at www.kingcounty.gov. Here is a list of operations that are currently affected:
Superior Court: Opening at 10:30 a.m. Friday.
District Court: Opening at 10:30 a.m. Friday.
Community Service Centers: Cottage Lake Community Service Center is closed Friday.
Elections: Offices closed on Friday.
King County Executive Branch Offices: Delayed start, will open at 10:00 am. First responders and essential staff will continue to need to report to their regular work location at their regular work times.
Prosecuting Attorney's Office: Opening at 10:30 a.m. Friday.
Metropolitan King County Council: Please check the hotline Friday for updates: 206-205-6725.
Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention: The Community Center for Alternative Programs and the Helping Hands Program, which have been closed for the last two days, will reopen at 9:00 a.m. The Community Work Program (work crews) will open at 7:30am.
Metro Transit: King County Metro Transit will continue with chained buses and snow routing on Friday. Metro plans to operate the same level of service it has used since mid-week, with up to 30 routes canceled for Friday. If travel conditions improve more than expected, service on these routes could be restored. Before traveling, riders should check for the most current status of Metro service. Bus riders should sign up for Transit Alerts to receive notification of route cancellations or major reroutes, but also check the service status online before traveling at www.kingcounty.gov/metro/snow. Customers can also call Metro's Customer Information Office at 206-553-3000.
Public Health Centers: All Public Health Centers that have power will open at 10 a.m. and may have limited services on Friday. If you plan to get services at a Public Health Center or other Public Health location, please call before you leave home to find out if the service is available. Contact information is available on the Public Health website at www.kingcounty.gov/health.
King County Veteran's Program: 2124 Fourth Avenue (co-located with Public Health), will open at 10 a.m.
Garbage collection service disruptions: There are several companies providing collection services throughout King County. Residents are urged to contact their individual hauler for information about the latest schedule for garbage pick-up: http://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/garbage-recycling/garbage.asp
Factoria Transfer Station: Closed until further notice.
Online Services Available: King County residents may be able to obtain some services online, such as pet licensing, car tabs, marriage licenses by mail, property tax payments, business licensing and more.
Urban and small stream flood watch
The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for our region. Wet weather after a build-up of snow and ice brings localized flooding, especially in urban neighborhoods and along small streams. Check the storm drain near your home today and make sure it's clear of ice and debris.
King County Roads
King County Road Services Division continues round-the-clock response to challenging conditions including down trees and icy conditions on County roadways. The foul weather has resulted in the closure of many roads, and residents are advised to be aware of road conditions and closures before leaving the house by checking www.kingcounty.gov/mycommute.
The amount of storm-related debris over roadways is the worst seen in unincorporated areas of the county in many years. Motorists should be on the lookout for falling debris and use extreme caution when traveling, especially on roads in heavily wooded areas of the county.
Monitor the latest road closures and conditions at www.kingcounty.gov/mycommute.
Shelter & warming facilities open throughout King County
In response to power outages, more warming centers and shelters for the general public have opened in King County including Red Cross-operated facilities in Federal Way and Issaquah. A complete updated list is at: www.kingcounty.gov/prepare.
Check-in with neighbors
Five days of bad weather has kept many folks, especially seniors and those with limited mobility, home all week. Take a moment today to check-in with those in your neighborhood who might need assistance. If you know someone who has lost electricity, invite them to your home to stay warm.
Keep 9-1-1 clear for emergencies
Only call 9-1-1 if you need immediate help from police, fire, or medics. DO NOT call 9-1-1 to report power outages or road conditions. Keep the line open for true emergencies.
Use caution with rooftop snow loads
Heavy snow, followed by rain creates a potential hazard with snow loads on rooftops and awnings, which could lead to structural collapse or sliding snow.
The King County Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES) urges the following precautions:
- If a roof is in eminent danger of collapse, stay away from the structure and call 9-1-1 for emergency help.
- Removing snow from your roof with a shovel can trigger unexpected snow slides causing crushing/suffocating injuries or death. Keep people and animals away from potential slide zones. It is strongly recommend not to access your roof to clear snow. Consider hiring experts who have experience and specialized equipment for safely clearing snow or ice.
- Clear any accumulation of snow around side wall vents for appliances.
If you are in unincorporated King County, the Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES) can conduct safety assessments and damage inspections of your house. Call DDES at 206-296-6630. For inspections on buildings inside city limits, contact your city directly.
Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill. Carbon monoxide gas comes from burning fuels such as gasoline, propane, oil, kerosene, natural gas, coal or wood.
Prevent poisoning from carbon monoxide:
- Only use a generator outdoors and far from open windows and vents
- Never use a generator or portable propane heater indoors, in garages or carports
- Never cook or heat inside on a charcoal or gas grill.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen suddenly and without warning. Physical symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include splitting headache, nausea and vomiting, and lethargy and fatigue.
If you believe you could be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, get fresh air immediately. Call for medical help from a neighbor's home. The Fire Department will tell you when it is safe to re-enter the home.
For a full list of carbon monoxide prevention tips and other safety and disaster information in English and other languages, visit www.kingcounty.gov/health/disaster.