Deep freeze calls for precautions, slow driving

crashed car off side of roadOur recent extreme weather has triggered a spike in storm-related insurance claims. Icy skids and crashed cars, frozen and burst water pipes, and trees toppled by gusty winds are keeping PEMCO busy.

Bend was slammed with yet another snowstorm today, with more snow approaching. The Deschutes County Sheriff, citing slick roadways, urges people to stay home if possible and avoid traveling through the area.

A Bend policeman noted the season's snowfall and said, “I haven’t seen weather like this since I was a kid back in the ’80s.”

The Daily Record reported 180 vehicle collisions last weekend in Kittitas County alone, mostly on I-90. The Washington State Patrol said most involved people driving too fast for conditions.

Also, high winds have interrupted power and dropped trees across the region.

Driving west from Snoqualmie Pass on Saturday, I struggled at times to stay in my lane as gusts slammed my pickup truck. We pulled off for groceries in North Bend and saw a small tree bend so far in a squall, its trunk snapped right at the ground. Then the wind blew the tree down the street. The tree likely had become brittle from last week's frigid temperatures.

propane tankThough it may be harsh outside, consider checking for hazards around your home – split tree trunks or branches, or roofs overloaded with snow. Check also for ice-covered drains and clear them. If there's a sudden thaw or downpour, you don't want surface water pooling against your outer walls or foundation.

And if you heat with propane, make sure you clear snow away from your tank's regulator, fill valves, and relief valves. In general, try to sweep snow off of any exposed propane pipes and tubing.

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