Last-minute snow prep check list

Last-minute snow prep check list
SEATTLE -- Plenty of snow, cold and ice have already settled in Western Washington, but it's not too late to get ready for what may come next.

The city of Seattle has 27 trucks to de-ice and clear streets. The trucks start with major roads to hospitals, then move onto bus routes.

"And we have enough, (are) staffed enough to handle all of the major streets in town and the hills where there are dicey or isolated places," said Seattle Department of Transportation's Grace Crunican.

If your street or neighborhood is not cleared, that's because you're not on one of these major roads. The city urges citizens who live on smaller streets to take some responsibility and be prepared.

As for ice around your own home, guard against freezing pipes. Keep the heat at 55 degrees or higher.

It's not too late to insulate pipes. Wrap exposed outdoor pipes with rags, then cover them with plastic and secure with string or wire.

Open cabinet doors to let warm air circulate around pipes. Let water trickle from the faucet farthest from your home's main water valve.

And know how to reach that main valve shutoff. In an emergency, you can quickly turn off the water using a T bar. Just put it on the valve, turn it and shut off the water. If you don't have one, grab a crescent wrench to put on the valve and then put a screwdriver through its end, turn and shut off the water.

If you call the city to do it, it's $150 during business hours and more than $350 during off hours.

And for those who need housing during this storm, the city's running emergency homeless shelters.

City Hall and Seattle Center can handle 150 people. On Wednesday night there were 30 open spaces.

The Frye Hotel can take in 25 women.

And don't forget about your pets. Bring animals inside if possible, since pets can get frostbite on sensitive areas like their ears, nose, and paws. If your pets stay outside, make sure to check on their water supply constantly as it will start freezing within minutes.

For more information and information in different languages, check out the city's Web site, Take Winter By Storm.

To see a full map of the Seattle streets that get cleared first, click here.

And if you've got a hazardous street that needs to be cleared, call 684-ROAD.