About 50 million people are in the path of what is being described as a potential record-breaking blizzard, one for the history books. Meteorologists are predicting that New England will be hit with one to two feet of snow, perhaps even more, between now and Saturday. Other northeast states – New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey are also expected to have severe storm conditions. Coastal states do not need these woes so soon on the heels of super-storm Sandy.
Governors and state authorities are unified in their advice: unless you are an emergency worker, stay off the roads. More than 3,000 flights have been cancelled already, with more expected.
Hopefully, you are hunkered down safely at home. We’ve compiled some tips from the experts to help you weather the storm and stay safe.
State Offices of Emergency Management
Weather.gov – Active Weather alerts – enter your zip code for local alerts
Before the storm
- Have emergency phone numbers handy to report power outages, to call for emergencies.
- Charge your cell phones, laptops, and any other chargeable devices
- Have flashlights, batteries and emergency supplies accessible.
- Have an emergency kit ready in case you need to evacuate the premises quickly.
- Fill tubs with water for toilet flushing. Keep a bucket handy.
- Store bottled water for drinking and washing
- Be sure you know how to switch gas valves, water valves, and circuit breakers on and off.
In a power outage
- Report the outage – don’t assume your neighbors have done so
- Use flashlights, not candles.
- DO NOT use a generator or charcoal grill inside a home or garage – due to toxic fumes, these should only be used outdoors.
- If using kerosene heaters, ensure they are ventilated to avoid toxic fumes. Keep heaters at least three feet from flammable objects. Do not refuel in the house.
- Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing
- Perishable items from the refrigerator can be kept cool for about 4 hours if the refrigerator is left closed.
- Use refrigerated foods first, frozen foods second and non-perishable foods last.
- Layer clothing to keep body heat.
- To save heat. close off unneeded rooms, cover windows at night and stuff towels or rags in the cracks under doors.
- To flush a toilet with a bucket of water, lift the lid and the seat, and pour an entire bucket of water in as rapidly as possible. The pressure should cause the toilet to flush
After the storm
- Avoid driving unless you have to so that the roads can be cleared.
- Help dig out fire hydrants and storm drains in your neighborhood.
- Be alert for children playing or sledding in snow.
- Ensure that your car’s exhaust system has been cleared of snow.