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.

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