Prepare Before a Snowstorm
A winter storm can keep you trapped indoors for days without power. How do you prepare for a snowstorm?
Prepare your home for winter before it starts to snow. Keep your family safe and comfortable during a blizzard by having a storm plan.
- If you live in a place where it snows often enough, it is a good idea to invest in a generator. A reliable generator and fuel supply can practically save the day.
- Make a winterized emergency kit. American Red Cross has a guide you can follow.
- Inspect your chimney and have it cleaned before winter.
- Get a weather radio that can use batteries if the power goes out.
- Stock up on batteries.
- Get a sturdy shovel.
- Clean the gutters and ensure that the roof is stable.
- Check the weatherstrips on windows and doors.
- Make sure the walls and attics are insulated.
- Stock up on blankets.
- Make sure you have a fully stocked first-aid kit.
- Learn first-aid for hypothermia and frostbite.
- Make sure you have a fire extinguisher that works.
- Get sand, ice melt, or kitty litter for icy surfaces.
- Winterize your car. Fema.govhas more information on this.
What to do just before a storm:
After the National Weather Service issues a Winter Storm Watch, start taking precautions for a more significant storm.
- You'll need to stock up on fuel for the generator.
- Charge all phones, rechargeable batteries, and power banks.
- Make sure flashlights at the ready.
- Fill your gas tank and have spare gas ready.
- Make sure you have plenty of non-perishable foods and toilet paper.
- Let pets in and bring plants indoors.
- Make sure your stoves are clean and work with no issues.
- Let all faucets drip slowly and insulate exposed pipes with newspapers or other insulation materials.
To-Do Tip for Winter Storms
To-Do Checklist (With Electrical Power)
1) If you still have electricity in your home, try to keep your thermostat as high as possible for as long as you can. If you no longer have power in your house try to find a gas-powered heater
2) Unless there is an emergency STAY INSIDE.
3) If you turn all your faucets to a slow drip, it can help prevent your pipes from freezing.
4) Wear dry or waterproof clothes, maybe even a few layers to preserve body heat.
5) Stay hydrated with plenty of fluids. It is recommended that we drink two quarts (64 ounces or about eight glasses) of water each day. Experts also suggest that, in emergencies, you should drink two quarts (half a gallon) of water a day – more if you're in a hot climate, sick, pregnant, or a child
To-Do Checklist (If the Power Goes Out)
1) Use a generator to power "essential devices," like the refrigerator and heaters.
2) Unplug computers and other non-essential electrical equipment to avoid a power surge.
3) To keep food from spoiling, try not to open the freezer or fridge.
4) Move frozen food and things that could go bad quickly to a garage to stay frozen if the power is out for a long time.
5) Use flashlights to avoid the risk of a fire.
6) Try not to use cooking devices that may emit carbon monoxide or other fumes.
7) Try to dress in layers, and use blankets and towels to help keep warm.
8) If you have a weather radio, periodically listen to weather reports for your area.
Damage To Your Home
Pipes are more likely to freeze and burst when the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Water can get into cracks and expand when it freezes. This freezing action causes larger cracks and damage. The resulting water damage can be severe. Outdoor pipes and pipes in unheated areas of the home can freeze if they are not insulated or if temperatures are frigid.
Outdoor pipes likely to freeze include:
Swimming pool supply lines
Water sprinkler lines
Pipes in unheated or partially heated areas might also freeze, including:
An ice dam forms when snow melts unevenly on a roof and refreezes at the edge of the roof, near the eaves. This dam prevents melting snow from draining off the roof. The standing water can back up under shingles, leak into a home, and cause water damage to ceilings, walls, and other areas. Ice dams can also tear off gutters and loosen shingles.
Snow and ice can cause major damage to your gutters and roof. The additional weight of snow and ice could cause a roof to collapse. When there’s a cold snap, water can get into cracks and small spaces and expand when it freezes, causing larger cracks and more damage. Freezing and melting over and over again can cause small cracks to become more significant.
A Few Ways Winter Storms Damage Homes
If you live in an area where temperatures drop quickly in the winter, it is best to educate yourself and be prepared. There are a few ways a snowstorm can affect you listed below.
The weight of frozen rain on trees and power lines can have a severe impact. Damage can start with a quarter-inch of accumulation. There can be widespread destruction with power outages lasting for days with thick piles of a half-inch or more.
Snow sticks easily to trees and power lines when they're carrying a lot of moisture. Similar to ice accumulation, this adds extra weight and stress, which highers the possibility of damage.
Snow on Roofs:
Snow from multiple storms building up on roofs and can cause the roofs to collapse.
Flooding After the Snow:
Temperatures that rise quickly or heavy rain after a winter storm that had a lot of snowfall can set the stage for significant flooding when it begins melting.
When strong winds can enhance the potential for tree damage and power outages when accompanied by ice and snow. Strong winds from winter storms can also cause power outages and cause tree damage even in areas where there is hardly any snow or ice.