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Thursday, February 5, 2009

After the Ice (or Snow)

Frozen Lavender

Originally uploaded by nodigio

After an ice storm – or a heavy snow storm – there are things we need to consider in order to continue living comfortably and without sudden disasters.

The home first:

Just because things are melting doesn’t mean you have successfully survived the event. Melting snow and ice bring their own problems.

Clogged gutters can cause the melt to seep under your roof tiles and from there into your home, where you may experience anything from a few annoying drips to serious water damage and even electrical short-outs and fires. Make sure your gutters are unclogged.

Snow can be so heavy it can collapse your flat roof surfaces like carports, sheds, barns, or patio covers, so you need to scoop as much off as you can. Just toss it on the ground – away from drives and walks and doors. Be cautious. If you can scoop the snow off without actually climbing on the roof, that’s good. If you must get up there, be careful and have someone with you in case you slip.

Pipes can still freeze, especially at night, so don’t stop your preventive measures too soon.

Downed tree limbs need to be chopped up and piled up to haul away. Have chainsaws already prepped before the storm – blades sharpened, plenty of chain lube oil, gasoline if it’s gas powered or waterproof outdoor extension cords. Have rope to tie smaller branches into easily transportable bundles.

Know the number of your utility company to report downed or damaged lines so they can fix them as soon as possible.

Service and stock up your generator, if you have one.

Now public areas:

Grocery stores may take a week or three to recover and be sufficiently restocked, so be sure you have plenty in your own stocks. The stores have several levels of difficulty in snow and ice storms. First is the stock runs people make as the storm approaches, which clears their shelves. Then they have the days where delivery trucks can’t get through keeping their shelves depleted. Then they have the after days when people are able to get out and shop again and their delivery trucks are still experiencing back-ups, delays, and may still be snowed or iced-in in other parts of the country. Don’t get mad at the stores for having bare shelves. Trust me; they want their shelves filled, too, because they lose money when they have no inventory to sell.

Buses will only travel along plowed snow routes, so you may not have reliable access to public transportation. Very limited routes will be served so if you have to rely only on public transportation, here’s hoping you are self-employed or have an understanding boss.

Check on your neighbors. Help them shovel walks, clear drives, and make sure they have heat and food.


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