Weather forecasts are showing a good chance of massive amounts of snow coming in over the next few days, and with the snow that we have already piling up along sidewalks and driveways, snow removal is more important than ever. To that end, the City of Bend has released a series of recommendations on how best to keep yourself safe— and to help plow drivers while you're at it.
City of Bend Winter Safety Recommendations
Is your roof safe with all this snow?
Here's an update from the City of Bend today (Tuesday):
"Structures built in Bend with building permits are designed to handle 25 pounds per square foot, which equates to about 20 inches of snow. Older structures, built before the adoption of building codes in Bend (late 1960’s), may not meet this minimum standard. Manufactured homes are designed to carry 30 pounds per square foot, or about 2 feet of snow. Flat roofs are more of a concern, because they tend to hold more snow moisture. Rainfall on top of snow can add a significant amount of weight to a roof rapidly. If the snow continues to pile up over 20-25 inches on your house, consider removing it from the roof."
And what about plowing and berms?
When there is this much snow, plows will often build up berms – large walls of snow on the sides of streets – in front of your driveway. Unfortunately, the City says it doesn't have the resources to clear these for you, so they instead ask for you to do it yourself. There is, however, an easy way to cut down on the workload and to ensure that you can get down your driveway at any time. Since berms are created when snow in front of a driveway gets sprayed back up into it, the City encourages you to clear three or four feet past the end of your driveway so the plows do not end up making your job any more difficult. Remember, the plows are out to make winter driving easier and safer, not to cause you any more trouble.
Even though you may feel like your back is about to give out when shoveling all of that snow, a far more serious risk during the storm season is damage to your parked vehicles from plows. To prevent any unwanted collisions, the City recommends residents move their vehicles off the street to keep them safe and to allow plows to clear as much of the road as possible.
Oregon State Police Winter Driving Recommendations
It is also more important than ever to practice safe driving. The Oregon State Police reported over 750 traffic incidents statewide in the 36 hours before this writing, 394 of which were potentially dangerous crashes. For your own safety, the State of Oregon requires the use of traction tires or chains. No matter how skilled of a winter driver you think you are, for the safety of yourself and others the State will fine you $160 if you do not have the proper tires. The State reminds you that it's particularly dangerous to use electronic devices while driving in the snow – nobody wants a distracted driver sliding into them at a roundabout. Plus, it's illegal!
Obviously, if you don't need to travel then it is recommended that you stay home, but if you have to leave the house, the State encourages you to be well rested and to have emergency supplies on hand.
But when you're not busy shoveling, have fun in the snow! The City expects record levels of snowfall, so enjoy it while you can.