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What to Expect at This Location

In Your Lifetime

Intensity A fire dial showing 60.0 percent intensity image/svg+xml

There is a HIGH CHANCE (84%) of a magnitude 6.5+ deep earthquake hitting in the next 50 years. It will feel similar to the M6.8 Nisqually Earthquake in 2001. Strong shaking will make it hard to walk here. Books, glassware, and items will fall from shelves. Cabinet doors and drawers will open. Some chimneys and poorly built buildings will be damaged.(map)

Cascadia Quake

Intensity A fire dial showing 70.0 percent intensity image/svg+xml

There is a MODERATE CHANCE (10-30%) of a magnitude 8+ Cascadia earthquake hitting the Northwest in the next 50 years. When it does, you will feel very strong shaking that persists for minutes here. Standing will be difficult and many will be injured. Bricks and shattered glass will litter the streets. Power and water will be off for days to weeks. (map)

What's the Worst?

Intensity A fire dial showing 90.0 percent intensity image/svg+xml

A LOW CHANCE (5%) exists of a magnitude 7+ earthquake on the Seattle Fault in the next 50 years, but if it does it will be damaging. Violent shaking will cause widespread panic and cracks in the ground will form. Landslides will be triggered on steep slopes and liquefaction will occur in saturated soils. (map)
Click on this image to be taken to a video of a simulated magnitude 7 earthquake and the impacts along the Alaskan Way Viaduct

Liquefaction

This is an icon of a house sinking into unstable ground

Potential: MODERATE - HIGH
Shaking soils will become unstable. This will reduce the ability of soil to hold homes, vehicles, and other structures. Sand-filled water may come up through cracks in streets. (map)

Warning Signs

This is an icon of an exclaimation point with two triangles behind it

Scientists cannot predict when an earthquake will happen so be aware and if you feel shaking, drop cover, and hold on. An early warning system is currently being developed for the West Coast. You can find out more here.

How to Prepare

Before

  1. PRACTICE - Be aware and practice "Drop, Cover, and Hold On"
  2. PLAN - Make a family plan (for adults & for kids) and build a supply kit
  3. PREPARE - Secure items that could fall and know the location of utility shut offs.

During

  • INDOORS - STAY THERE! Take cover under a sturdy desk or table away from objects that could fall on you and hold on. DON'T run outside before shaking stops.
  • OUTSIDE - GET INTO THE OPEN away from buildings, power lines, chimneys, or things that could fall on you.
  • DRIVING - CAREFULLY STOP (not under a bridge, overpass, power lines, etc.) and STAY INSIDE VEHICLE.
  • NEAR THE OCEAN - Follow guidelines above until shaking stops. Then HEAD FOR HIGH GROUND.
This is a panel of four cartoon images showing what to do during an earthquake if inside, outside, driving, or near the ocean.

After

PREPARE FOR AFTERSHOCKS (earthquakes that follow the main shock are common and can cause more damage than initial quake).
  • Phone lines will be overwhelmed; texting can be a good way to communicate with family.
  • Check yourself and others for injuries.
  • Once safe, check news reports via battery operated radio, TV, social media, and cell phone text alerts for emergency information.
  • Emergency responders will be busy. Depend on your friends and neighbors for support during the hours and days following an earthquake.
  • Control utilities if necessary. Find out more about when and how to control gas and water after an earthquake.
Watch this video to find out more about what to do DURING and AFTER and earthquake.

In Recent History

What's Happened?

Since 1870, 15 large earthquakes (greater than magnitude 5) have hit Washington State. Native stories also tell of a great earthquake (greater than magnitude 8) and tsunami that followed in 1700. This is an Image showing the sizes of historical earthquakes in Washington. It shows a magnitude(M) 6.5 in 1949 which is 316 times smaller than M9, M6.9 in 2001 which is 160 times smaller than M9, M7.1 in 1965 which is 79 times smaller than M9, and M9 in 1700.

Historical Images

A plane takes off from Boeing Field as a crew stands on the runway assessing the damage and discusses the repair of the cracks caused by the earthquake. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)
The Nisqually earthquake on Feb. 28, 2001, caused damage in Pioneer Square, including to this vehicle on Second Avenue and South Jackson that was showered with bricks. (Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times)
The quake caused a mudslide that flowed into the Cedar River in Renton’s Maple Valley, creating a dam and flood, and shifted a truck that nearly reached a house. (Tom Reese/The Seattle Times)
There was a lot of cleanup to do at this Pioneer Square grocery store after the 6.8 earthquake shook goods off the shelves. (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times)
The Bemis Bag Company factory in Seattle, shown here, was damaged significantly in the 1949 M7.1 earthquake that rocked the region. It is located just south of the downtown business district. (credit: MOHAI)
Earthquake damage to a Seattle warehouse from 1949 M7.1 earthquake. (credit: MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection)
This photo shows earthquake damage at Union Station in Seattle. This was following a magnitude 6.5 earthquake that struck the region in 1965. (credit:MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection)
This photo shows a crack that developed along Spokane Street in Seattle. It was caused from a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that hit the region in 1949. (credit: MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection)
This photo shows fallen bricks and damage caused by the 1949 magnitude 7.1 earthquake that hit the region. This is along 2nd avenue in downtown Seattle. (credit: MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection)
Shortly before noon on Wednesday, April 13, 1949, a magnitdue 7.1 earthquake rocked the area from British Columbia to Oregon and caused extensive damage. Seven people died and at least 64 were injured. This photo shows damage in Pioneer Square at the Seattle Hotel at 1st and Yesler Way. (credit: MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection)
In this photo, visitors to Green Lake Park have parked their bicycles as they look at the cracks made by the April 1949 magnitude 7.1 earthquake. Much of the land along the southwestern part of the lake cracked and subsided. (credit: MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection)
This photo shows people standing outside the Busy Bee Cafe looking at the crushed cars and fallen brick on 2nd Ave. The brick fell from the top of the Hotel Seattle after the April 13, 1949 earthquake, which registered 7.1 on the Richter Scale. (credit: MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection)
A magnitude 6.5 hit the region in 1965 damaging many buildings. This photo shows bricks fallen from the damaged Fisher Flour Mill onto a nearby car. (credit: MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection)
After the earthquake destroyed the outside wall of their architecture office in Pioneer Square, a couple finish removing items from the debris. (Tom Reese/The Seattle Times)

What to Expect at This Location

In Your Lifetime

Intensity A fire dial showing 5.0 percent intensity image/svg+xml

This is outside the high-risk flood areas> (map). BUT if you live near a creek or small river be aware that it could flood too. See the River and Floodplain Management website for more information.

What's the Worst?

Intensity A fire dial showing 80.0 percent intensity image/svg+xml

Rain, snowmelt, or both cause waters to rise rapidly. Floodwaters overtop riverbanks, spill into neighborhoods, and impact roadways. This area in the mapped 500-year floodplain and will be flooded. There's a 6% chance you'll see a flood of this size in the next 30 years. (map)

Climate Impacts

This is an icon of the earth with a thermometer in the top left
Severe storms are expected to increase in the next 50 years.They will bring with them rain and snow. Rivers will have higher flows leading to more flooding in the Fall/Winter. Click the image to find out more.
Climate Change Rivers Infographic

Warning Signs

This is an icon of an exclaimation point with two triangles behind it
Has it been raining hard or for many days? Have rising temperatures been causing rapid snowmelt in the mountains? Do water levels in local rivers look high? Chances of flooding could be increasing. Check news reports by the weather service for local alerts.

How to Prepare

Before

  1. PLAN - Make a plan of what to do and where to go if waters rise. Have essential items ready (birth certificates, important documents, photos, etc). Acquire flood insurance if you need it.
  2. PREPARE - Store valuables and household chemicals above flood levels and learn how to turn off utilities (water, gas, and electricity).

During

  • GET READY - Gather emergency items (warm clothes, flashlight, cell phone, portable radio, etc). If time permits and it seems necessary, shut off utilities
  • LISTEN - Listen to the news and if advised, evacuate to higher ground.
  • AVOID HAZARDS - DO NOT wade or drive through floodwaters. It only takes 6 inches of moving water to knock you down and 2 feet to sweep a car away!
This is a panel of four cartoon images showing what to do during an a flood collect essentials, get to high ground, avoid water, and shutt off utilities.

After

  • If your home has been flooded, be wary reentering it as it could have structural damage.
  • Have a professional check utilities before turning them back on.
  • Document losses by photographing damages and recording repair costs.
  • Find out more here.

Local Resources

This is an icon of a house perched above a river. It shows a stacked sandbags keeping the water away from the house.
Prepare for a flood by picking up and filling sandbags. (map)

DISTRIBUTION CENTER NEAREST YOU IS,

Preston-Snoqualmie Trail parking lot
Lake Alice Road SE and SE 56th Place
Fall City, WA 98024
Sandbag and sand pickup*
*Announced when Snoqualmie River flooding is imminent

In Recent History

What's Happened?

With the many rivers in King County flooding is common during periods of heavy rainfall or rapid snowmelt. Flooding is most common from November to February, but can happen whenever the conditions are right.

Historical Images

During some western Washington winters, heavy rains and melting snow cause widespread flooding in the river valleys. In this January 1946 photo, the White River has overflowed its banks and flooded the town of Thomas, near Kent. The view looks east on what is now the S277th valley bypass. (credit: MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection)
The White and Green Rivers flooded almost every year. In November 1906, over 50 square miles of land between Tacoma and Seattle were under water. This photo shows the White River flood in O'Brien (near Kent) during the winter of 1906-1907. A group of men stands outside the bar on the wooden sidewalk. One has brought his small boat up to the edge of the walk. (credit: MOHAI)
Late in 1914, workers for Seattle City Light completed a masonry dam and reservoir at Cedar Lake, on the Cedar River. Unfortunately, the soil on one side of the lake was very porous, and the reservoir did not hold water well. Within months, the water table rose in the nearby town of Cedar Falls. This 1915 photographic postcard shows Rattlesnake Lake flooding the original town of Cedar Falls, Washington. (credit: MOHAI)
Flooding was a serious problem in Kent since its founding in pioneer days. Until a dam was built in the 1950s, the Green River flooded almost every winter. Water covered farms and washed away roads and bridges. This photo shows people leaving a flooded house near Kent during a Green River Flood in 1938. (credit: MOHAI)
In mid-April 1938, heavy rains caused flooding near Kent and Auburn, and throughout the Green River Valley. In this photo workers pile sandbags along the edges of a flooding road in the Green River Valley. The photo was taken looking east on S. 259th, one block east of Highway 167. The Green River is located about 500 feet to the right. (credit: MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection)
A man surveys the flooded scene Wednesday along Northeast 124th Street at West Snoqualmie Valley Road, east of Redmond. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times)
Heavy rains in November and December 1960 caused serious flooding along western Washington's many rivers. Along Jones Road, east of Renton, the flood waters of the Cedar River destroyed earlier flood control structures and nearly washed away the Lund home. After decades of serious flooding along the Cedar and other King County rivers, voters approved major flood control bond issues in 1960 and 1964. (credit: MOHAI)
This photo gives an aerial view of the flooded town of Orillia, near Renton. Over a week of heavy rains in mid-December 1933 caused mudslides and flooding throughout western Washington state. On December 10, the Seattle Times reported that all area rivers were near flood stage. The Duwamish, Green, and White Rivers had overflowed their banks, flooding towns throughout the valley. (credit: MOHAI, PEMCO Webster & Stevens Collection)
The Northeast 124th Street bridge at West Snoqualmie Valley Road east of Redmond is washed out during flooding Wednesday. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)
This photo shows a father (Carl Elliott) carrying his daughter (Carola Elliott) through floodwaters in Earlington, near Renton, in 1947. (credit: MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection)
A flooded road off Highway 203 near Duvall on Wednesday. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

What to Expect at This Location

In Your Lifetime

Intensity A fire dial showing 10.0 percent intensity image/svg+xml

This area has a shallow slope and is less likely to have landslides here. Landslides tend to happen when the ground is wet from lots of rain OR from ground shaking caused by earthquakes. Scroll down to historical events see if any landslides have been documented in your area. (map)

What's the Worst?

Intensity A fire dial showing 33.0 percent intensity image/svg+xml

It's unlikely you will see a slide here, but you could see one on nearby steep slopes if conditions are right. Keep an eye out for unstable areas. Especially roads that have been blocked by fallen debris or washed out. (map)

Climate Impacts

This is an icon of the earth with a thermometer in the top left
Landslides often happen along ocean-side bluffs from waves buffeting coastlines. Puget Sound waters have risen 8 inches since 1913! With higher water levels the potential for bluff erosion will increase. Excess rain from severe storms could also weaken steep slopes triggering more landslides in King County. Click the image to find out more.
Climate Change Storms Infographic

Warning Signs

This is an icon of an exclaimation point with two triangles behind it
Do you hear sounds of cracking wood, boulders knocking together, the groaning of ground? Do you see cracks in the landscape and downslope movement of land, rocks, and vegetation? It could be a landslide. Move to stable ground.

How to Prepare

Before

  1. ASSESS - If the area around your home may be prone to landslides seek advice of geotechnical experts. They can evaluate landslide hazard and/or design corrective techniques to reduce landslide risk.
  2. REDUCE RISK - Plant ground cover on slopes and/or build a retaining wall to stabilize hillsides
  3. PREPARE - Make a supply kit and family plan designating at least two evacuation routes

During

Staying out of the path of a landslide or debris flow is your best protection. The U.S. Geological Survey also recommend the following,
  • BE ALERT - Listen for unusual sounds. Intense, short bursts of rain may be particularly dangerous, especially after longer periods of heavy rainfall and damp weather.
  • CONSIDER LEAVING - If you are in areas susceptible to landslides and debris flows, consider leaving if it is safe to do so. If you decide to stay home, move to a second story if possible.
  • NOTICE STREAM LEVELS - If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow and for a change from clear to muddy water. These could indicate landslide activity upstream. DON'T DELAY! Save yourself, not your belongings.
You can find more landslide tips from USGS here. This is a panel of three cartoon images showing what to do during an a landslide. Stay Alert, Leave the area, and Don't Delay.

After

BE PREPARED FOR FLOODING (landslides often block rivers and can cause rivers to back up and flood).
  • Stay away from the slide. Other slides can occur after the main slide.
  • Once it's safe, check for injured and trapped people.
  • Check for damaged utility lines and report any damage to your utility company.
  • Listen to local media or NOAA Weather Radio for current information.

Local Resources

For more information check out the Department of Natural Resources page on landslides and landslide hazards. For landslides in your neighborhood, see available information from City of Seattle and King County

In Recent History

What's Happened?

No studies have been completed here to identify if historical landslides exist (map).

Historical Images

In December 1921, torrential rains caused train wrecks, washed out bridges, and flooded Seattle streets and neighborhoods.Three people were buried under this slide in West Seattle when their house was swept away by a landslide. (credit: MOHAI, PEMCO Webster & Stevens Collection)
Some of Seattle's hills are unstable, and landslides have always been common in certain areas during rainy weather. This photo shows a 1948 slide on a hill in West Seattle with homes in front. (credit: MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection)
Landslides have always been common in certain areas during rainy weather. This photo shows a 1948 slide on a hill in West Seattle with homes below. (credit: MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection)
In February 1934, a sudden landslide blocked Westlake Avenue near McGraw Street with tons of mud, brush and trees. At the same time, part of the north end of Perkins Lane was slipping downwards at the rate of several inches per day. Over near West Seattle's Beach Drive, tons of mud kept oozing downwards, threatening several abandoned homes on Atlas Street . This photo shows a Seattle-area home sliding downhill as the side of the hill gives way. (credit: MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection)
This photo shows a house damaged in a 1950 slide on Beacon Hill. (MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection)

What to Expect at This Location

In Your Lifetime

Intensity A fire dial showing 10.0 percent intensity image/svg+xml

This area has a low to very low risk of wildfire. If you live near a wooded area be aware that wildfires can happen. (map)

What's the Worst?

Intensity A fire dial showing 20.0 percent intensity image/svg+xml

It's unlikely, but if you live near a forested area you could experience wildfire. SMOKE from distant wildfires can travel far and can be a factor even if none are burning nearby. Check on your local air quality here.

Climate Impacts

This is an icon of the earth with a thermometer in the top left

The number of wildfires in the Pacific Northwest has already increased significantly in the last few decades. This trend is likely to continue with drier and stormier summers (think lightning that sparks fires). Large areas of forest could burn and put smoke into the air. Click the image to find out more.
Climate Change Forest Infographic

Warning Signs

This is an icon of an exclaimation point with two triangles behind it
Do you smell or see smoke? Has it been a stretch of dry weather? It could be a wildfire. Steer clear of active fires and if you see one start call 9-1-1 to report it.

How to Prepare

Before

  1. MAKE SPACE - Protect lives and property by creating a fire-adapted space around your home, shed, and business. To find out how check out firewise.org.
  2. WATCH WEATHER - A few sunny days can dry out forests enough to catch fire. Windy conditions can cause wildfires to get out of control quickly.This is an image of ways to prevent wildfire around your home. They include screening decks, pruning trees 6-10 feet from the ground, using fire-resistant wall and roof materials, keeping plants watered, and making sure your driveway can accommodate an emergency vehicle

During

  • STAY TUNED - Listen for local emergency alerts on the radio and/or television and be ready to evacuate if necessary.
  • REMOVE FLAMABLES - Remove materials from around your property that could catch fire (lawn chairs, tables, etc.).
  • PREPARE YOUR HOME - Move upholstered furniture away from windows. Close doors and windows, but do not lock them.
This is an icon of an exclaimation point with two triangles behind it

After

  • Return to your home once authorities say it is safe.
  • Use caution when entering burned areas as hazards may still exist.
  • Check and re-check for smoke or hidden embers.
  • Photograph damage for insurance purposes.

Local Resources

If you think your property could be at risk King County has information for landowners, incentive programs, and host training workshops. You can find out more here.

In Recent History

What's Happened?

Eastern King County has small forest fires each year. Typically humans are the cause. Take a look at where fires have happened in the past by clicking here.

Historical Images

This photo shows the hills on fire with a man and water bucket in the center. This photo was taken in 1926. (credit: MOHAI, PEMCO Webster & Stevens Collection)

What to Expect at This Location

In Your Lifetime

This is an icon of Mount Rainier

Lahars (volcanic mudflows) are the main hazard associated with Mount Rainier. South King County residents have a 1 in 10 chance of experiencing a lahar in their lifetime. Mount Rainier is considered an active volcano, but it could be many years until it erupts again.

What's the Worst?

This is an icon of an Ash plume coming from Mount Rainier

You are OUTSIDE THE LAHAR HAZARD ZONE. If Mount Rainier erupts ash will cover the region. It will look much like areas impacted by the Mount Saint Helen's eruption in 1980. Ash thickness will vary with distance from eruption. (map)

Warning Signs

This is an icon of an exclaimation point with two triangles behind it
Volcanoes typically provide warning signals days to months before they erupt. Gas and earthquake activity increases and the ground surface swells as magma moves beneath it. Though these signs may be imperceptible to the general public, Mount Rainier is monitored continuously by scientists with the USGS Volcano Hazards Program.

How to Prepare

Before

  1. ASK - Find out what steps local officials have taken to prepare for volcanic events. Ask public officials what their plan is and how they will communicate with you during an event. You can do this by contacting the King County Office of Emergency Management.
  2. PLAN - Talk to your friends and neighbors. If you are in a high risk zone, decide where you would go, what you would bring, and who you would contact.

During

During an eruption, listen to the news for emergency updates and follow emergency instructions.
  • IN LAHAR ZONE - Get to higher ground immediately.
  • OUTSIDE - Cover your mouth, nose, and body to avoid irritation. Find shelter.
  • INSIDE - Keep doors and vents in home closed and stay indoors, unless directed otherwise. Place damp towels at door thresholds and tape drafty windows. Keep car and truck engines off to avoid damage from ash congestion. Protect animals and machinery by bringing them inside or in a covered area.
This is an panel of three images of what to do during a volcanic eruption or lahar. In lahar zone, outside, inside.

After

After the immediate danger from an eruption has subsided, cleaning up the ashfall will be the main event.
This image shows two graders shoveling inches of ashfall from Saint Helens' eruption

  • Wear goggles and a face mask when outside. Air quality will be poor.
  • Avoid running vehicle engines. If you must drive, keep speeds low (less than 35 MPH) and check oil, oil filters, and air filters frequently
  • Ashfall is very heavy and can cause buildings to collapse. If safe to do so, clear ash from roofs and rain gutters.
  • Local Resources

    You can learn more about Mount Rainier and the potential hazards from a number of sources:

    In Recent History

    What's Happened?

    Mount Rainier has had a long history of eruptions and lahars.About 500 years ago the Electron Mudflow surged downhill travelling through Puyallup and as far as Sumner, WA. In the thousands of years before that many lahars travelled along local rivers reaching as far as Auburn. Some towns (NE Tacoma, Orting, and Puyallup) are built on historical lahar deposits.

    Historical Images

    This aerial photo was taken of the summit and crater atop Mount Rainier. (USGS)
    Newer solar panels replaced older ones on Mount Rainier to help power monitoring stations. (USGS)
    Three days after the May 18, 1980 eruption crews and and equipment began arriving in Yakima to help remove the ash. Here graders scrapes the ash from the east end of the Yakima airport. (Yakima Herald-Republic File)
    Photo courtesy of Jeanne Richardson
    Moscow/Pullman Daily News
    Volcano evacuation sign along a Washington road.(USGS)
    Mount Saint Helens and Mount Rainier looking north. (USGS)
    This photo shows the summit of Mount Rainier viewed toward the southwest. The dashed red lines trace the 5,000 year old Osceola collapse crater now mostly filled in with lava flows. (USGS)
    This photo shows a debris flow deposit along Tahoma Creek. The original depth of flow can be seen by the mud markings on the trees.(USGS)
    The slope on the right shows a deposit of rocks, sand, mud, and other materials carried 31 miles from Mount Rainier during the Osceola Modflow. This deposit is about 26 feet thick! (USGS)
    This aerial photo was taken of the summit and crater atop Mount Rainier. (USGS)
    Lahar (dark deposit on the snow) originating in the MountSt. Helens Crater after an explosive eruption 1982. The lahar flowed from the crater into the north fork of the Toutle River and eventually reached the Cowlitz River 80km (50mi) downstream.
    During the first week of September, 2012, scientists completed scheduled maintenance at five volcano monitoring stations between 7,000 and 11,000 feet on Mount Rainier. Work was completed by staff from the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory and Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, with strong support from Mount Rainier National Park. The stations provide continuous data streams that are critical for detecting signs of unrest at Mount Rainier. (USGS)

    What to Expect at This Location

    In Your Lifetime

    Intensity A fire dial showing 50.0 percent intensity image/svg+xml

    Across King County winter can bring below freezing temps, icy roads, and the potential for major storms. Snowfall occurs occasionally, with more at higher elevations. Winter storms can bring high winds that cause trees to fall and power to go out.

    What's the Worst?

    Intensity A fire dial showing 80.0 percent intensity image/svg+xml

    A substantial snow fall event could cause significant disruptions to transportation, public safety services, and utilities. Power could be out for many days.

    Climate Impacts

    This is an icon of the earth with a thermometer in the top left
    The Pacific Northwest will see more severe storms in the next 50 years. They could carry heavy winds, torrential rainfall leading to flooding. Winter activities will be impacted. 2015 saw the lowest recorded snowpack levels with only 4% of the average. Warm winters will set the stage for statewide drought. Click the image to find out more.
    Climate Change Winter Infographic

    Warning Signs

    This is an icon of an exclaimation point with two triangles behind it

    Meteorologists have made great strides in forecasting snow and ice storms. Pay attention to local weather forecasts and sign up for available alert and warning systems (Alert Seattle and Alert King County) to ensure that you get up to date information about pending severe weather.

    How to Prepare

    Before

    1. GET SUPPLIES - Store extra fuel and emergency supplies to survive several days without electricity, heat, and hot water. Consider purchasing a generator and follow safety standards.
    2. WINTERIZE YOUR HOME - Install storm windows. Insulate walls, attics, and pipes. Apply caulk and weather-stripping to doors and windows. Allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to keep pipes from freezing. Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
    3. WINTERIZE YOUR VEHICLES - Keep fuel tanks at least half full. Have the battery, ignition system, radiator, lights, brakes, and tires checked. Fill reservoirs with antifreeze, oil, and window washer fluids. Keep winter weather emergency supplies in your trunk.

    During

    • STAY INFORMED - Monitor local news on your TV, mobile device, or battery-operated radio. Follow emergency instructions and pay attention to travel advisories.
    • AVOID TRAVEL - If you must drive, fill the gas tank, stay on main roads, and keep others informed of your itinerary. Slow down. If stranded, call for help, turn on hazard lights, and remain with your vehicle. Don't set out on foot unless shelter is close by.
    • KNOW YOUR RISKS -
      • Hypothermia - If you notice signs get medical help immediately. For symptoms and other information click here.
      • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning - It happens when fuels like gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal are burned in an enclosed space. Hundreds of people die accidentally each year. Find out more here.
    • AVOID HAZARDS - Steer clear of fallen power lines, flooded, roads, and other structures weakened from heavy snow or ice.
    This is a panel of four images of what to do during bad winter weather. Stay Tuned, Stay Inside, Know Risks, and Avoid Hazards.

    After

    • Restock emergency supplies. Get ready in case another storm hits
    • Improve your family plan - What worked? What could be done better?
    • Talk to your neighbors. Share tips and ideas with each other

    Local Resources

    Learn more about winter condition and how to prepare:

    In Recent History

    What's Happened?

    A series of snow, ice and rainstorms beginning on Dec. 26, 1996, caused 16 deaths in the state and $57 million in damages in Seattle and King County. Two storms — one dumping 6-12 inches and the other 10 inches of wet snow — were followed by heavy rain which collapsed carports, covered boat moorings, and snapped power lines. Metro transit halted service completely for the first time in its history. Freeze and snowmelt contributed to flooding and landslides during the following week. Are you ready if a storm like this happened again?

    Historical Images

    During a 1955 snowstorm in Seattle a boy puts on tire chains for one dollar. (MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection)
    In this photo, workers clear snow off the railroad tracks south of King Street station. Record low temperatures and heavy snow plagued the Seattle area during the winter of 1950. Seattle recorded nine days of temperatures below ten degrees between January 12 and February 4, 1950. (MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection)
    Seattle doesn't usually get hit by big snowstorms, but when deep snow falls, cars stay off the streets and children rush for their sleds. In this photo, taken in 1937, a group of children pull their sleds up Eleventh East in the Roanoke district on Capitol Hill. The hill was known as "Devil's Dip" among locals in the area. (MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection)
    Over five feet of snow fell on Seattle in early January 1880. The city wasn't used to such heavy snow. Schools closed, trains didn't run, and the city's activities ground to a halt . This photo was taken on January 10th, 1880 after the great snow. It shows the view up Cherry Street from First Avenue towards First Hill. (MOHAI, PEMCO Webster & Stevens Collection)
    This view taken during the big snow storm of 1916 looks west on Pike Street from 3rd Avenue. (MOHAI, PEMCO Webster & Stevens Collection)
    Record low temperatures and heavy snow plagued the Seattle area during the winter of 1950. On Friday January 13, downtown Seattle received an average of ten inches of snow, with Sea-Tac airport reporting 21.4 inches, just shy of a 24-hour snowfall record. Although the snow let up on Saturday, the cold temperatures persisted for several more days. Seattle recorded nine days of temperatures below ten degrees between January 12 and February 4, 1950. (MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection
    Passengers help driver Kim Cranford move her car through heavy slush onto Bothell Way at 61st Avenue N.E. in Kenmore on Dec. 29, 1996. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

    What to Expect at This Location

    In Your Lifetime

    Intensity A fire dial showing 50.0 percent intensity image/svg+xml

    Don't let the rainy fall and winter fool you, King County summers can be HOT. Sometimes temperatures rise into the 90s for multiple days at a time. Thunderstorms, windstorms, wildfires, and heat waves are possible across the region.

    What's the Worst?

    Intensity A fire dial showing 80.0 percent intensity image/svg+xml

    Severe heat could last for days causing communities to see an increase in heat-related illness including HEAT EXHAUSTION and HEAT STROKE. The high temps, dry conditions, and increased likelihood for lightning may lead to wildfires.

    Climate Impacts

    This is an icon of the earth with a thermometer in the top left
    July 2015 was the hottest month ever! The average yearly temp is projected to increase between 3 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. Washington residents will see less summer rainfall, but the rainfall that does happen will be heavier (think downpours). Click the image to find out more.
    Climate Change Storm Infographic

    Warning Signs

    This is an icon of an exclaimation point with two triangles behind it

    Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious illnesses that can occur when a person is exposed to extreme heat.

    HEAT EXHAUSTION SIGNS:
    • Heavy sweating
    • Weakness
    • Weak pulse
    • Fainting
    • Vomiting
    • Cold, pale skin
    HEAT STROKE SIGNS:
    • High body temperature (103F or higher)
    • Hot and dry skin
    • Rapid and strong pulse
    • Possible unconsciousness

    How to Prepare

    Before

    Older adults, young children, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at higher risk of heat-related issues.
    1. KNOW SIGNS - Heat-related illness can happen quickly. Know and which of your neighbors may be at risk.
    2. STAY INFORMED - Listen to local news for general information and locations of cooling centers (public spaces that can be used by residents to stay cool)
    .

    During

    • STAY COOL - Stay indoors and, if possible, in an air conditioned place (shopping mall, library, theater, etc). Limit outdoor activity.
    • PROTECT SKIN - Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. A wide brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen will help.
    • DRINK WATER: Drink lots of fluids (avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugary drinks) and carry a water bottle.
    • THINK OF OTHERS - Keep kids and pets outside of hot cars. Check on at-risk family, friends, and neighbors often.
    This is a panel of three images of what to do during bad summer weather. Stay Cool, Protect Skin, and Drink Water.

    After

    • Use window drapes to cover windows and keep cool air inside.
    • Consider purchasing an air-conditioning system and/or installing weather-stripping in the home where hot air seeps in.
    • LOW-BUDGET OPTION: Build heat reflectors (for use between windows and drapes), such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside. Click here for DIY instructions.

    Local Resources

    For more information on how to stay cool and safe head to King County's Hot Weather page.

    In Recent History

    What's Happened?

    In 2015, King County had a record number of days that exceeded 90F. July 2015 was the hottest month ever recorded in King County!

    Historical Images

    In this 1958 photo, children and adults stay cool by swimming at Lake Sammamish in Bellevue, Washington. (MOHAI, Seattle PI Collection.)
    Seattleites looking for a place to cool down could also go to West Seattle beaches. In this 1911 photo, women and girls wade in the shallow water on a calm summer day, while others watch from the pier. Some of the girls are wearing their play clothes in the water. At this time, women wore bathing dresses which covered most of their bodies. (MOHAI, PEMCO Webster & Stevens Collection)
    Man shows that people in Seattle don’t just need umbrellas during the rainy season as he stands under his for shade from the sun on July 1, 2015. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
    Children run through the water on a hot summer day at the International Fountain at Seattle Center on July 28, 2016. (Sophia Nahli Allison/The Seattle Times)