The talk of the town this week is the heavy amount of snow that is predicted to hit our area late tonight and into tomorrow. Everybody is gearing up for what could be the most significant snow storm we've seen in nearly two years. Many folks seem to be secretly "hoping" for a big whammy, particularly school children praying for a snow day and those of us who wouldn't mind a snow day of our own to catch up on things at home. Snow blowers and gas cans are starting to adorn the rear ends of pickups, and the snow plow trucks are waiting in line at the local Shell station to get fuel. But, what do most homeowners do to prepare for a large amount of snow? Before we hit panic mode and realize we are dangerously close to running out of milk and bread, let's take a look at this following checklist to keep ahead of the storm:
1. We haven't had much use for snow shovels or snow blowers in the last 2 years, so you might literally have to dig those items out of storage before you can use them again. Make sure your snow blower has plenty of gas, fill up the gas can if necessary, and check the oil and tire pressure. To make sure everything is functioning properly, perform a test run with the machine.
2. High winds and icy conditions can wreak havoc on power systems, so make sure you have an auxiliary heat and/or lighting source in your home. Check the flashlight batteries and keep extra blankets on hand. For those of you in rural areas, check your supply of heating fuel or propane to ensure that your tank is at least 25% full to avoid problems with tank pressure and supply issues during cold weather.
3. Stock up on a few necessities such as bottled water, food and supplies to weather the storm in case of power outages or reduced travel conditions.
4. Make sure all windows and doors are securely latched so wind and snow do not infiltrate your home. This will also help the efficiency of your heating system.
5. One problem that I particularly have is keeping the downspout extensions on our gutter system in the winter time when the wind is strong from the north or east. This is mainly due to the fact that there is little groundcover and vegetation this year to help block the wind. Make sure that extensions are secured or pull them off and store them in the garage/yard shed until the temperature warms back up.
6. Keep travel to a minimum. If you must travel, keep a winter travel safety kit in your car. This should include items such as a flashlight, blanket, warm clothing, a snow shovel, and energy bars/water. Make sure your gas tank is full before the storm hits in case of a travel emergency.
7. Make sure pets are comfortable and have a warm, dry place to weather the storm, too. Winter weather can be just as hard on them as it is on humans!
8. Have a communications plan in place for your family. Keep tabs on family members that may have to be out in the storm and keep those posted who need to know about changing weather conditions. Make sure cell phones are charged in case of an emergency.