Many Ketchikan residents were surprised on Saturday when the clouds parted to show snow on the mountaintops.

Wait, what?

Snow? It’s just the first week of October. Less than two weeks into fall.

And speaking of fall, how many of you slipped on an icy surface on Monday morning — and had to scrape the frost from your truck windows?

Seems like Mother Nature is trying to get our attention early this year. Hey Ketchikan, winter’s coming. You ready?

Interestingly enough, the week of Oct. 3-9 is “Winter Weather Preparedness Week” here in Alaska. As the termination dust sparkling on the Granite Basin ridgeline above town suggests, it’s a good time to prepare.

That means more than tuning up the snowmachine and waxing the snowboard. Winter sports are fabulous, but cold climates require that our basic everyday systems be in good order.

Appropriate clothing and footwear, for example. Capable vehicles and tires. Winterized home heating and plumbing. Adequate equipment and supplies.

That’s just the basics for “normal” winter weather. We know Alaska has a tendency to go bigger than normal.

How much bigger was noted in Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s 2020 declaration of Winter Weather Preparedness Week.

“Various types of severe winter conditions are common, including blizzards, frigid temperatures and wind chills, deep snow, black ice, freezing rain, strong winds, river and sea ice, avalanches, huge ocean waves, freezing spray, aircraft icing, and coastal flooding,” stated the declaration.

Better double-check the preparedness list to ensure that you and your family are ready as can be.

One more thing. Being prepared in winter relies a lot on understanding the weather conditions — what’s happening right now and what’s being forecast. Ensuring that you have access to weather information and understand what the information/forecasts are telling you can be life-saving, as can winter outdoor skills and avalanche knowledge in the backcountry.

Take a few moments during this Winter Weather Preparedness Week to address your particular winter needs. Mother Nature has given us a lovely reminder of the season ahead. The next one might not be so nice.