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Wet, wild weather here, so secure your stuff

Tuesday, October 17, 2017by  Jon Osterberg

cracked fallen tree across a roadStormy weather now pounding the Northwest has hastened the need to finish your fall chores and guard against stiff winds that could batter your home and yard.

Satellite images show a band of moist clouds that stretch uninterrupted from China to the Washington coast. Forecasters say rain and wind will intensify Wednesday and continue through the weekend, bringing gusts of 40 mph in the Seattle area and up to 50 mph elsewhere.

With so many trees yet to drop their leaves, the timing is bad. Branches laden with foliage resist the wind, straining brittle braches that could snap off and weak trunks that could topple over.

Property owners should hustle outside right now to prune vulnerable trees. Batten down or store items that could blow away, like barbecues, lawn and patio furniture, awnings, garbage cans, and outdoor kids' toys. Maybe even your bird feeder, if it's exposed to prevailing wind.

portable white car canopyDo you own a portable storage shelter, like the canopies used to cover cars or boats? They can blow over, and even if they're bolted to pavement, strong gusts can bend and ruin their frames. Use your best judgment to either fasten them more securely, or remove the fabric until winds subside.

Stock up on fresh flashlight batteries, in case your power fails. If you rely on a well (and an electric pump) for your water, store some beforehand in gallon containers.

PEMCO is particularly wary of candles, a leading cause of house fires. If you lose power and use them, burn candles only in noncombustible containers, and never leave them unattended.

close up of leaves clogging a gutterOnce the winds hit, they will strip deciduous trees of their leaves. Expect to find a mess in your yard. It's more than just a leaf-raking hassle – you'll want to keep storm drains clear to prevent flooding. And you'll especially want to clean your gutters, so that leaves and debris won't clog your downspouts and cause puddling around your foundation.

Did you rid your roof of moss during our long dry spell? If not, you've lost your chance. That dark fuzzy stuff may get dislodged now and end up in your downspouts. That's another reason to clean your gutters and to be mindful of moss removal next summer.

Once next week arrives, the weather should dry out. Long-range forecasts for Seattle, Portland, and Spokane show a stretch of mostly sunny days, extending to (cross your fingers, youngsters) Halloween.

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