Winter Storm Preparedness, Response, and Recovery
Two back-to-back winter storms, Uri and Viola, recently wreaked havoc across the Unites States. Southern states that are not accustomed to colder temperatures, snow, or ice were especially impacted by these storms. Uri and Viola have left extensive power outages, vehicular accidents, injuries, and even deaths. With Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and a large portion of the eastern seaboard being affected, approximately 100 million people have been impacted by these two storms in one way or another.
Though these two storms have caused quite a bit of damage throughout the United States, winter storms are common, especially in eastern states, including our own: Pennsylvania. Each year, hundreds-to-thousands of Americans are injured or killed by exposure to cold temperatures, vehicle accidents on wintry roads, and fires caused by heating sources. SERVPRO of Western Lancaster wants members of our community to be safe and prepared for winter storms!
WINTER ADVISORIES, WATCHES, AND WARNINGS TO BE AWARE OF:
- Blizzard Warning - Severe winter storm conditions, reducing visibility.
- Considerable accumulation and/or blowing of snow, which reduces visibility to ¼ mile or less for 3+ hours AND
- Sustained winds, or frequent gusts of wind that are of 35+ miles per hour.
- Winter Storm Warning – A significant, and possibly life-threatening, combination of hazardous winter weather is occurring or imminent.
- 5 or more inches of snow/sleet within a 12-hour period or 7 or more inches of snow/sleet within a 24-hour period AND/OR
- Enough ice accumulation to cause damage to trees or powerlines AND/OR
- A life-threatening of snow and/or ice accumulation with wind.
- Winter Storm Watch – Potential for significant and hazardous winter weather within 48 hours. A Winter Storm Watch does not mean that significant and hazardous winter weather will occur, but only that it is possible in your area.
- Ice Storm Warning – Projected ice accumulation of ¼ or more in your area.
- Winter Weather Advisory – Any amount of freezing rain OR when 2-4 inches of snow, alone or in combination with sleet & freezing rain, is expected to cause a significant inconvenient, but is not serious enough to warrant a warning.
- Freeze Watch – Potential for significant, widespread freezing temperatures within the next 24-36 hours.
- Freeze Warning – Significant, widespread freezing temperature are present or expected.
PREPAREDNESS: WHAT TO DO BEFORE THE STORM
- Winterize your vehicle to reduce your chance of being stranded during a winter emergency.
- Stock your vehicle with: a windshield scraper with a small broom, a bag of non-clumping kitty litter (for gaining tire traction in a pinch), a book of matches in a waterproof container, a brightly colored piece of cloth (to tie to the antenna if you get stuck), a first aid kit, extra clothing/blankets, a flashlight, and jumper cables.
- Keep a home-emergency kit, including flashlights and a battery-operate radio.
- Keep an emergency non-perishable food and water supply in your home.
- Properly insulate your pipes to protect them from freezing.
- Have your home’s heating unit inspected each year to ensure that heating sources are installed properly and operating safely.
- Make sure your home is properly insulated. Install storm doors/windows or cover windows with plastic (from the inside) to provide additional insulation.
- Establish an emergency evacuation plan in case you lose power or heat.
RESPONDING: WHAT TO DO DURING THE STORM
- Stay indoors when possible, and avoid driving.
- Wear warm, layered, clothing.
- Keep your body replenished, and your energy maintained, by eating and drinking regularly.
- Stretch before going outside to avoid muscle injury. This is especially important if you plan on going out to do snow removal (shoveling, snow blowing, etc…)
- Walk carefully if going outside, always being mindful of potential ice.
RECOVERY: WHAT TO DO AFTER THE STORM
- Avoid driving or traveling until conditions have improved.
- Avoid overexertion when shoveling.
- Assess your home for any damage
- Alter your emergency response plan based on your experience.
CALL THE EXPERTS:
If you, like thousands of others each year, experience water or fire damage from a winter storm, call SERVPRO of Western Lancaster at 717-665-1270!