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Preparing for a Blizzard
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Blizzards are easily the most dangerous of all winter storms, producing high winds and heavy snowfall and usually occurring between December and March in the United States. While blizzards may occur most anywhere, they seem to be most prevalent in the northern Great Plains, particularly South Dakota, but they also occur in states such as Texas and Maine, proving beyond a doubt that there are no boundaries when it comes to severe winter weather.
Blizzards are dangerous storms, with most deaths occurring as a result of hypothermia in people trapped in their vehicles. Once snowed in, car doors may be almost impossible to open. However, most of these fatalities may have been avoided through proper preparation.
To prepare for a blizzard, you should ideally begin when the weather is still warm, before the winter season begins. Winterizing your home through proper insulation, making sure all window seals are intact and that all doors close securely, and making sure your home heating system is in good working order all help contribute to winter weather preparation.
You may also want to invest in an emergency generator, one designed to kick on when the power to your home goes out. This results in uninterrupted power and heat for your home even in the event of an outage.
You should keep an eye on local and regional weather forecasts when severe winter weather is likely. Blizzards are fully capable of stranding you in your home for a period of several days as well as knocking out heat and power, so be sure you are properly supplied. You should have flashlights with several sets of replacement batteries, a battery-powered weather radio, canned food and bottled water, medicine and baby items, and first-aid supplies. In the event the heat goes out, you should have heating fuel, dry wood, and access to space heaters, wood stoves, or a fireplace. Of course, generating heat in this manner is risky and you should also have a working smoke detector and fire extinguisher on site.
Your car should also be properly equipped with a working cell phone, blankets and sleeping bags, flashlight/batteries, a knife, non-perishable food, shovel, windshield scraper (and de-icer), tool kit, tow rope, jumper cables, and an extra supply of winter clothes. The ideal scenario is that you would not have to drive during this time, but plans and circumstances do change and you want to be prepared. The gas tank should be kept as full as possible; this will keep the fuel line from freezing up.
If you are traveling and unable to get out of the blizzard’s path, find a hotel or motel and hunker down there until the storm has passed.
As with any severe weather event, adequate preparation is the key to surviving blizzard conditions. Have your plan in place before the skies turn dark.
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