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More snow predicted for Whidbey Island

Elfuel Coilantes, owner of Angelo
Elfuel Coilantes, owner of Angelo's Caffe, shovels snow from the cafe's patio early Sunday morning. More snow is expected on Wednesday.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

Time to stock up on emergency supplies and batten down the hatches, another storm front is rolling into town.

Accuweather.com predicts more snow for Wednesday, with a high of 40 degrees and a low of 24 degrees. Freezing temperatures, which dropped into the teens the last couple of nights, will continue through the week with more snow possible on Sunday.

With only a week to go before the official start of the winter season, the weather in Oak Harbor indicates otherwise. Snow covers yards and fields, icicles hang from eaves, and pedestrians hop over frozen snow and mud puddles.

Snow blanketed the island Friday night, providing a wake-up call for the impending seasonal weather change. Adrenaline-crazed kids left "doughnut" patterns in empty parking lots and frozen animal tracks peppered the nearly unblemished powder by the waterfront.

The cold, icy conditions slowed traffic on the island over the weekend, but didn't seem to cause any major problems, said Rich Tyhuis, Oak Harbor street operations manager.

"We were pretty fortunate," he said, adding the city was able to take care of the snow with just one truck.

The crew sanded the streets from Sunday morning from 1 to 7 a.m., then spot-sanded busy school and Navy traffic routes early Monday morning.

The forecast calls for more chilly weather this week.

"Keep an eye on the weather," Tyhuis cautions.

Below-freezing temperatures will preserve hard-to-spot patches of black ice, he said, adding that motorists should continue to take extra care while driving this week.

Coupeville also saw some snowfall, said Bill Oakes, director of Island County Public Works.

Road crews began sanding and plowing major roadways at 5 a.m. Sunday morning and continued throughout the day until 5 p.m. Sunday night, he said.

Monday morning crews returned to monitor and sand school bus routes, he said. Schools maintained their regular schedules on Whidbey Island, while many on the mainland ran two-hours late.

Mark Soptich, Oak Harbor fire chief, said the fire department is prepared for the winter weather. He encourages the community to get prepared, too.

Carry chains, food and warm clothes in the car in case of hazardous road conditions, and have flashlights and batteries on hand in the event of a power outage, he said. Barbecues, and other heating or cooking devices that emit carbon dioxide must not be used indoors, he said, adding that generators must be installed properly to vent outdoors.

Freezing and bursting water pipes are also a concern. Homeowners can protect their water pipes by wrapping them with an insulated material.

Although the Oak Harbor Red Cross remained on standby last weekend, the community weathered the storm without the need of assistance.

TJ Harmon, Oak Harbor Red Cross executive director, cautions residents to get ready for this second stormfront. Forecasts call for cold temperatures and a chance of three to six inches of snow through Wednesday, she said.

"This is the beginning of our winter weather season and it's already started with a bang," Harmon said.

Now is a good time to stock up on emergency supplies, including food, water and extra medications. Harmon advises car owners to get a winter tune-up, have at least a quarter of a tank of gas in the car, drive slowly and watch for black ice on the road.

"You need to be prepared for the winter weather," she said.

Stay tuned to KWBA 1110 am radio, or monitor TV Channel 10 for shelter updates, and call the Red Cross at 675-2912, or 911 for emergency assistance.

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