Winter weather season returning to Portland area, how to be prepared

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) – Winter weather is returning to Oregon this week, and officials said this should serve as a reminder to prepare for more ahead.

This week’s weather is forecasted to bring snow, ice and cold temperatures in higher elevations. Though it won’t be like the ice storm in February of this year, Drew Stefani, a supervisor at Pearl Hardware, said it’s never too late to prepare.

“It’s always good to have the things before you need them because whenever we get ice or snow we get a huge run on ice melt, or things like that and it’s hard to get it,” Stefani said.

To save money on heating bills and to keep your house warm, seal windows and doors so cold air can’t get in.

“Take a loop around your house inside and out,” Stefani said. “Find any potential leaks for warm air and potential inlets for cold air.”

She also said many winter items can be used for years. So, investing now can have a long-term payoff.

“You can get a shovel and use it for years and get it for whenever,” Stefani said. “You can get ice melt and it can sit for years. Just having that and being prepared (is) super helpful.”

The most bought item during winter at Stefani’s store is ice melt. She said when there is a big winter storm, her store sells out fast. She also said the supply chain crisis is impacting Pearl Hardware. Preparing now is better than waiting the last minute.

“When it comes to something very specific to a season, fans and heaters are usually tricky because you can’t buy them all year,” Stefani said.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is also reminding the public to start preparing your car for winter roads. Dylan Rivera, a spokesperson for PBOT, said drivers should start carrying chains in their cars. If possible, also invest in snow tires.

Rivera said the Portland area can have different microclimates. Weather in downtown Portland could he different than in the West Hills. He said chains aren’t the only thing drivers need.

“Everyone needs to have and emergency kit in the trunk of your car with a few bottles of water, a warm blanket,” Rivera said. “Those snow chains for your vehicle, some jumper cables, and other critical supplies. First aid kit, things you might need, if you do find yourself stranded by the side of the road.”

Rivera also wants to remind the public to familiarize themselves with PBOT’s snowplow routes. He said critical roads for public transit and first responders get plowed. Drivers can check live snowplow routes on their Winter Weather Center website.

Once you’re prepared, both Rivera and Stefani said check in on your neighbors, especially the most vulnerable like the elderly.

“Just look out for one another,” Stefani said. “Be a community.”