Image Courtesy: Ready.gov, Snow plow clearing fresh snowfall from a street
DISCUSSION: Whether it is December 1st or February 1st, one question that is often not thought about enough by most people is “Am I ready for this Winter?”. It is important to note that there are multiple layers to “being ready for Winter-time weather” which can range from having a shovel ready to having enough food and water, depending on the nature as well as the severity of the winter storm. However, with the right planning well-ahead of any Winter season, you can more easily avoid the biggest “headaches” that plague many people year in and year out when it comes to being ready for the next Winter storm.
First off, while it may seem obvious, one very important factor is knowing that you have enough warm, sweat-wicking clothes on hand. This is important since when you go outside during and/or after a winter storm, you are likely to perspire while working to clean-up your and potentially other people’s property. During this time, your body’s core temperature is rising and as a result, your body’s sweat can consequently lead you to being damp and extra uncomfortable due to very cold temperatures. Thus, this could come down to simply having solid waterproof boots, waterproof/insulated gloves, insulated underlayers, as well as a comfortable, insulated winter jacket. So, before entering the next Winter season, always remember to make sure you have warm boots and Winter-time apparel on tap.
Another layer of preparation which is useful to have on hand ahead of any given Winter season, is of course having a snow shovel (and/or a snow blower) on hand along with rock salt. The benefit of having a snow shovel (and/or possibly a snow blower) on hand would be so you have a definitive ability to move snow during and/or after any given winter storm. However, if you happen to have a working snow blower on hand, this can make the process substantially easier overall, but still having the snow shovel to fall back on if your snow blower should happen to break down or potentially run out of fuel (depending on the type of snow blower). Along with snow removal resources, the second layer to snow removal is ensuring safe travel ability in and around your property which can be helped by putting down sufficient rock salt to minimize re-freezing of leftover snow or melted snow. Rock salt can also be put down ahead of the first snowflakes or ice pellets/freezing rain falling so there is a pre-storm mitigation of surface freezing potential from the onset of given storm impacts. So, before the next Winter season, it is good to make sure you have a handy snow shovel (and/or snow blower) on hand especially since when snowstorms come into the upcoming forecast, corresponding Winter-time weather supplies can sell out rather quickly.
A third layer of preparation has to do with both having sufficient food, medical, and general safety supplies on hand for your family (as well as your pets if you have any). This can vary from having enough pertinent medications on hand, having enough flashlights and batteries on hand in case the power goes out, as well as extra ice for your refrigerator and freezer to keep all your fresh and/or frozen food cool in case the power goes out. So, before the next Winter season, take a few minutes to consider whether you are truly ready for the next winter storm, since you may help yourself avoid many unnecessary stress and worries.
Attached below are some additional references courtesy of the American Red Cross and Ready.Gov on winter weather safety best practices:
American Red Cross: Winter Storm Safety. 2022: https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/winter-storm.html (Accessed February 27, 2022).
Ready.Gov: Winter Weather: 2022: https://www.ready.gov/winter-weather (Accessed February 27, 2022).
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© 2022 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz