Joint Base Lewis/McChord


Welcome

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JBLM Welcome

 

Welcome to Washington! Part of the Pacific Northwest and Puget Sound, Pierce County is in western Washington, with King County to the north, Thurston County to the west, Lewis County to the south and Yakima County to the east.

Pierce County has an estimated population of nearly 844,000. The county is home to Tacoma, which is the county seat, Lakewood, Puyallup, Spanaway and University Place, as well as Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The county offers many historical and cultural attractions, plus modern amenities. In addition to the beautiful Tacoma waterfront and Mount Rainier, there are museums and parks. Outdoor activities abound, including camping, fishing, golfing, hiking, skiing and snowboarding.

There are also shopping, dining and nightlife opportunities for residents to explore. Annual events and festivals celebrate everything from Puyallup’s daffodils to the area’s military heroes and showcase the majesty of Washington.

WEATHER AND CLIMATE

While the Pacific Northwest is known for rain, Pierce County enjoys a temperate climate. The county only receives an average of 39.9 inches of rainfall each year (less than the cities of Miami, Houston, New York and Boston). The wettest month is December and the driest is July. Most rainfall happens between October and March.

The warmest month in Pierce County is August, with highs in the upper 70s and average lows in the mid-50s. The coldest month is December, with average highs in the upper 40s and average lows in the mid to high 30s.

Local Hazards

Every second counts in a disaster so planning and preparation can be lifesavers.

The Washington State Department of Health’s Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response responds to acts of bioterrorism, outbreaks of infectious disease and other large-scale public health emergencies or mass casualty incidents. Their website gives information on how to prepare for a variety of emergency scenarios and has a list of local, state and federal numbers to call during an emergency. Visit www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/EmergencyPreparednessandResponse for more information on local disaster preparedness.

The following are considered significant hazards in Washington.

Floods

Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Even beyond coastal regions, flash floods, inland flooding and seasonal storms affect every region of the country, damaging homes and businesses. It is dangerous to underestimate the force and power of water.

During a flood watch or warning, gather your emergency supplies and stay tuned to local radio or TV stations for further weather information. If you are outdoors during a rainstorm, seek higher ground. Avoid walking through any floodwaters — even water 6 inches deep can sweep you off your feet. If you are driving, avoid flooded areas. The majority of deaths in floods occur when people drive through flooded areas. Roads concealed by water may not be intact. Water only a foot deep can displace a vehicle. If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water can engulf a vehicle and sweep it away.

For more information on how to stay safe during a flood, visit www.cdc.gov/disasters/floods.

Sun Exposure

Some exposure to sunlight is good, even healthy, but too much can be dangerous. Broad-spectrum ultraviolet radiation, listed as a known carcinogen by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, can cause blistering sunburns, as well as long-term problems like skin cancer, cataracts and immune suppression. Overexposure also causes wrinkling and premature aging of the skin.

Cloud cover reduces UV levels, but not completely. Depending on the thickness of the cloud cover, you can still burn on a cold and dim day, so be prepared with sunglasses, sunscreen, long-sleeved garments and wide-brimmed hats.

Thunderstorms

While more likely at certain times of the year, thunderstorms can happen anytime. A severe thunderstorm can knock out power; bring high winds, lightning, flash floods and hail; and turn into a twister in seconds. Pay attention to storm warnings. Remember the rule: “When thunder roars, head indoors.” The National Weather Service recommends following the 30/30 rule: People should seek shelter if the “flash-to-bang” delay — the length of time in seconds from the sight of the lightning flash to the arrival of its subsequent thunder — is 30 seconds or less, and remain under cover for 30 minutes after the final thunderclap.

For more safety information, visit www.cdc.gov/disasters/lightning.

Winter Storms

Prepare for winter storms by assembling a disaster supply kit for your home and vehicle. Have your car winterized before the winter storm season arrives. Listen to weather forecasts and plan ahead.

When winter storms and blizzards hit, dangers include strong winds, blinding snow and frigid wind chills. Avoid unnecessary travel during storm watches and warnings and stay indoors.

Winter storms can also cause power outages. During a power outage, gather in a central room with an alternative heat source. Use fireplaces, wood stoves and other heaters only if they are properly vented to the outside. Never use an electric generator or a gas or charcoal grill indoors. The fumes are deadly. If you use a space heater, keep the heater 3 feet from any object that may catch fire (drapes, furniture or bedding) and never leave it unattended. Avoid letting pipes freeze and rupture by leaving faucets slightly open so they drip continuously.

For more information on winter preparedness and winterizing your home and vehicles, visit www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter.

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