Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Winter Storm Preparation

Winter is around the corner, and while the hurricane season is passing by without too many storms, there is still plenty to prepare for.

Early snow falls typically result in very wet & heavy snow, which can be a tremendous burden on whatever it lands on.  Heavy snow means falling limbs and trees, knocked over power lines, and roof & property damage; this doesn’t even include the fun part of clearing all that snow.

Winter storm backout
Winter Storm Damage
One thing that differentiates early winter storms from storms in January or February is how heavy the snow is.  When the temperatures are warmer, snow will melt a little, adding moisture and weight to the flakes.  Colder temperatures produce dryer snow, making it lighter and easier to move.  This was very apparent during the large winter storm that hit the Northeast around Halloween of 2011, which knocked out power to millions.  Not only was there a run on snow blowers, but people had to find backup power during the long & cold cleanup process.

There are a few things you can to to protect your home from early winter storms.  Inspect trees on your property for any potential hazards, such as drooping, dead, or dying trees and limbs.  Use a chainsaw or pole saw to remove any limbs that may pose a threat to your home, garage, shed, etc.  If there are overhead power lines running near or through your property, contact your local utility provider and let them know about anything that could potentially impact the power lines in the event of a storm.  Do not attempt to cut anything near or touching a power line, leave that up to the professional utility crews.

In the short term, many in the midst of a blackout will turn to portable generators.  Since water and electricity don’t mix, using a portable generator in the middle of a storm is an extremely bad idea.  Wait for the storm to pass, then fire that generator up (don’t run it in your garage!)  Conversely, with some planning, you can get an automatic standby generator for your home.  Standby generators are fully enclosed and can be operated in nearly any weather condition.  They will start up automatically within a few seconds of sensing a power outage and run until the utility power is restored.

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