We don’t get severe weather very often. Generally, winter in Lake Oswego is mostly rainy with mild temperatures in the 40s. However, it is also pretty common that for a few days each winter we will get temperatures low enough to bring us snow and ice. Last week was one of those occasions. It was severe enough that the mayor of Lake Oswego declared a state of emergency. The unique factor was the snow and ice were accompanied by high winds. This brought down trees and tree limbs. And this led to power outages throughout the Portland metro area. At my house we lost power for 5 days. So here are a few of my take aways about being prepared and what to expect.
It may be cold.
If you can, install a generator. They come in different sizes. Small ones to just power your furnace and large ones for the entire house.
You can purchase indoor-rated propane heaters. This is what we used at my house. Make sure that they are indoor rated! With two heaters going we kept our kitchen at about 55 degrees.
Wear layers. Hats and gloves may feel goofy indoors, but they help a lot.
Drip your faucets. Just a small drip at each faucet can keep your pipes from freezing. Bursting pipes don’t have to be round two of coping with a cold snap if you take precautions.
If you haven’t lost power, you still need to take care of your pipes. Particularly if they are located in exterior walls. Consider leaving cupboard doors open so that the interior of the cupboards are well heated.
Buy things ahead of the weather event. Propane was a rare commodity and the stores around Lake Oswego were completely sold out. My son, who lives in Hillsboro, where they didn’t loose power, brought us propane that he purchased in that part of town. So stock up on things you’ll need before they are sold out: propane, candles, and batteries.
Take care of your trees
Hire an arborist to examine the trees in your yard. If you are considering buying a house, think about adding an arborist to your home inspection. Then do what they recommend. My husband and I have done this in our yard. It has paid for itself many times over. We just don’t have limbs and trees coming down. It’s not a 100% guarantee, but it has been money well spent in our household.
The bottom line is that these weather events happen. Be prepared and make it as smooth as possible. The heat will come back on and the yard will get cleaned up. And don’t forget to enjoy the winter wonderland!