Fall’s foliage is nearly at its peak and soon we’ll be heading off to Thanksgiving feasts and planning our holiday shopping. Yes, another winter is on the way and this year the experts are forecasting a long, cold, snowy one for much of the country. Winter weather can be incredibly harsh, especially when large amounts of snow or ice fall. High winds can make things even worse. Ice and wet snow lead to downed trees and power lines and can even cause roofs to collapse. All good reasons to start your winter storm prep now. Don’t wait until a storm is on the way, as then it can be too late.
First, make sure you have the proper gear. Shovels, ice scrapers, snow melt and if you live in a very snowy area or have trouble shoveling, a snow blower are all necessities. If you have pets, choose a pet safe snow melt as the traditional ones can burn paws. You should also be sure to have a few bags of traditional clay cat litter (not the clumping stuff) around, including one in the trunk of your car. The litter provides traction and can help you if your vehicle gets stuck in snow or ice.
A generator is also a smart investment. The worst time to lose power is during the winter. Make sure to chose one that will fit your particular needs, and always follow the directions in the manual. Never ever run a generator inside, and since they tend to be loud, you may want to turn them off over night as well. For more information, check out http://www.grastengenerators.com/.
Other items you should keep in your car include blankets, antifreeze, deicer, an ice scraper, flashlight, and small shovel. These will all come in very handy should you get caught in a storm. For your home, stock up on batteries and non-perishable food items. Check the expiration dates on both every so often and discard anything that is past its date. A battery operated radio is also a very good idea, so you can keep tabs on what’s going on if your power goes out.
Should a storm hit and dump a large amount of snow on your roof, get up there as soon as its safe to do so and remove it. There are special shovels available just for this job. The longer you let snow stay piled up on your roof, the more you run the risk of ice dams, leaks and other damage. That said, if your roof is showing signs of instability (numerous or large leaks, creaking, cracking, etc.) get everyone out of the house right away and call 911. Remember, safety first!