Gov. Inslee declares a state of emergency after start of winter storm

Gov. Jay Inslee declared a statewide state of emergency Friday afternoon in preparation for a winter storm expected to move through the Pacific Northwest Friday and throughout the weekend.

“Everyone in our state needs to focus on preparing for the snow and staying safe,” Inslee said.

“Weather forecasters predict this may be a storm unlike one we’ve seen in many years. I encourage everyone to stay off the roads if possible and plan ahead if you must travel,” Inslee said.

Officials said the proclamation directs state agencies and departments to utilize state resources and assist affected political subdivisions in an effort to respond to and recover from the winter storm.

The Washington Military Department’s Emergency Management Division has also activated the State Emergency Operations Center and has been instructed to coordinate all event-related assistance.

During and following the storm, Inslee is asking everyone to follow common-sense tips:

• Stay off roads if at all possible. If trapped in your car, then stay inside.

• Limit your time outside. If you need to go outside, then wear layers of warm clothing. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

• Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Only use generators and grills outdoors and away from windows. Never heat your home with a gas stovetop or oven.

• Reduce the risk of a heart attack. Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.

• Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia and begin treatment right away.

• Check on neighbors. Older adults and young children are more at risk in extreme cold.

The National Weather Service is forecasting heavy snowfall for the region.

Total snow accumulations of 4 to 6 inches are expected, as well as local snowfall accumulations of 8 inches.

The storm is expected to hit portions of northwest and west central Washington, including Bainbridge Island, Seattle, Bremerton, Everett, Tacoma and beyond.

Snow is expected through 4 p.m. Saturday. The heaviest snowfall accumulations for most of the area will occur between 3 to 10 p.m. Friday.

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