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Winter Weather Is Coming. Are You Ready?

Friday, December 18, 2015
DPW says now is the time to prepare your family, home and car for winter weather.

Contact: Linda Grant, (202) 671-2375

(Washington, DC) Meteorologists are saying that due to a strong El Niño effect, December and January temperatures are likely to be normal to warmer than normal, but in February, temperatures may plunge and a significant winter storm may occur. So, are you ready to withstand a major storm or do you need to prepare your family, home and car? The Department of Public Works encourages residents to go to snow.dc.gov for tips to make sure they have everything needed to be safe this winter.

“Safety is our focus and we want to make sure it’s yours, too,” said Department of Public Works Acting Director Christopher J. Shorter.  “This year, avoid the race to the hardware store for deicer and a shovel or the supermarket for bread and milk when snow is forecast. Plan ahead. Here are some examples of what to do. For your family, have on hand all prescription and other medications, bottled water and food that doesn’t need to be cooked. For your home, keep flashlights, extra batteries, bottled water and a first-aid kit accessible. For your car, have kitty litter for traction as well as blankets, flares and a mobile charger. And don’t forget your pets.”

The DC Snow Team (Department of Public Works and District Department of Transportation) has been preparing since summer to be ready when the first snow storm begins. There are 14 new 6-wheel dump trucks to salt and plow major streets and six new Ford 550s to salt and plow smaller residential streets. Additional equipment is on standby just in case a substantial snowfall is forecast, and the salt domes are filled to capacity, starting the season with 39,000 tons of salt.

Serve DC is doing its part for snow readiness by enlisting volunteers to shovel sidewalks for residents who have disabilities or are age 60 or older. Eligible residents may call 311 to sign up for this service. Serve DC also is seeking volunteers for the DC Resident Snow Team, which will provide sidewalk shoveling services to persons with disabilities or who are 60 years old or older. Residents who want to volunteer may sign up for the DC Resident Snow Team at www.snowteam.dc.gov or call (202) 727-7925. Shovels will be loaned to volunteers who don’t have one.

“Clearing your sidewalk of snow and ice is the right thing to do and the majority of property owners accept that responsibility,” said Director Christopher Shorter. “We urge residents to reach out to their neighbors to form shoveling teams and offer to clear the sidewalks for those who are unable.”

Property owners can make clearing their sidewalks easier by applying abrasives (deicer, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter) before a storm starts. This is especially useful when ice is predicted.

DPW encourages everyone to pay attention to weather forecasts during the winter and prepare your family, home, and vehicle before snow begins to fall. Go to snow.dc.gov for preparation tips.