Islanders need to prepare for more severe storms | Our Opinion Nov. 26

Islanders appear to have emerged generally unscathed from this week’s storm, but they shouldn’t let their guards down because more paralyzing inclement weather is expected during the next few months.

The severity of the winter storm was more than forecasters predicted, with snow falling during Monday’s daylight hours, followed by northerly winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour and then freezing temperatures. Tuesday’s sunshine brought people outside, but temperatures never climbed above freezing and the icy roads remained dangerous.

Fortunately, most people drove cautiously and injuries were minor ones caused by falls and other such mishaps. There were many inconveniences, beginning of course with a lack of power and the cold weather. There were runs on our two local grocery stores and the island’s gas stations quickly ran out of fuel.

Monday was especially chaotic as people were trying to get home on slick surfaces and State Route 305 was backed up for several hours during the evening rush hour from the Agate Pass Bridge to the Bainbridge ferry terminal.

Everyone knew a storm was coming, but the temperatures were colder than initially thought and the wind caused more damage than usual because of its direction. The west side of the island had the most tree damage with about a dozen roads blocked by downed trees.

Weather experts say this week’s storm is Just the beginning of a particularly difficult winter. They say several more storms that could be colder and more severe than usual will occur. Blame it on La Niña, they say.

All of which means Bainbridge Island needs to be prepared, beginning with having more than one “warming station” available for people who need relief from the freezing temperatures when there are power outages. The city and the senior center were both closed Tuesday, leaving only the North Madison Fire Station for people whose homes became iceboxes.

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