Preparing for Winter Storms

Posted on: March 5th, 2018 by Brent Gotsch
Trees interacting with power lines over the upper Esopus Creek, Oliverea, NY, following the Nor'easter of March 2, 2108. Photo by A. Bennett.

Tree interacting with power lines over the upper Esopus Creek, Oliverea, NY following the Nor’easter of March 2, 2018. Photo by A. Bennett.

The recent Nor’easter shows just how devastating and disruptive high winds coupled with snow and ice can be. Even today, three days after the storm, thousands, including many in the watershed are still without power. Presently, another Nor’easter is forecast to hit the region this Wednesday. There are actions you can take today to be prepared and lessen the impact winter storms have on you and your family.

A great resource is the NY Extension Disaster Education Network (NY EDEN) page that deals with Winter Storms. As with many other types of disasters it is important to have a emergency bag or kit with supplies in your home. Items that could be included in the kit include:

  • One gallon of drinking water per person per day (for the assumed length of time you will be without water)
  • Non-perishable food items (such as canned food) and can opener
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight
  • Battery powered AM/FM radio with batteries

Here are more ways to prepare and stay safe:

Be sure to have sufficient fuel since it may not be possible for deliveries to be made for several days. Try to fill vehicle fuel tanks prior to the storm and keep several containers of fuel ready for refueling. If you do lose power, do not run a generator or propane grill inside your house as you may be poisoned by carbon monoxide fumes. Dress in layers to stay warm and use extra blankets in bed. If you use a fireplace or wood stove, be sure to have fire extinguishers ready and that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries.

Especially this time of year, snow tends to melt quickly and could contribute to flooding. Do not drive over flooded roadways as the depth of water is often deceiving and deeper than it appears. Turn Around! Don’t Drown!

Do not attempt to drive over or move downed power lines as it is often difficult to determine if they are live or not. Downed lines in standing water can potentially be an electrocution hazard so stay clear of them. Report the downed lines to your electric company. Unless you are experienced with the use of a chainsaw, do not try to cut up downed trees on your own. This is especially true if the trees are tangled up in downed power lines. Leave their removal to professionals.

Use the time we have now to prepare for the next storm so you will have the least amount of disruption.