At the time of writing, a severe ice (and snow) storm is predicted. It will affect much of the country, from the Deep South to the Northeast.
I will talk about the unique and serious problems associated with an ice storm. And what you can do to prepare.
Having experienced my share of ice storms (of varying intensity) over the years, I expect two main probabilities ….
- An impossible journey
- Power outages
It’s simple and obvious. Under good weather conditions, freezing rain forms quickly on ALL surfaces. Driving on thin “black ice” is virtually impossible, and more! 1/8 inch. 1/4 inch. 3/8 inch. 1/2 inch! More?
Fuggedaboutit… You don’t drive in an ice storm.
They will not travel. So make sure you get home before the ice storm hits!
You risk your life if you drive on a road during an ice storm. There will be a million accidents, people skidding and people going off the road. Good luck waiting for help…
Have you ever ridden on ice? Nothing beats snow! Turn the wheel and your car goes in the same direction as before….. Brake and your car goes in the same direction, at the same speed as before! It’s a frightening feeling, to say the least.
SNAP… Runs past branches and power lines.
Water is heavy. Ice is heavy. Imagine a tree whose branches and boughs grow thicker and thicker because of the ice. Finally, SNAP… Comes down with the limbs.
Do you know where they usually fall? That’s right – on power lines.
Imagine… Power lines collect ice. Bit by bit. The weight of the accumulated ice causes the lines to collapse. Finally, SNAP… … … …is the lowering of the high-voltage cables.
Now you’re at home without power. And it’s winter. It’s cold outside. The chances of a quick fix are slim. Ice storms are common. Crews can’t even start until the roads are safer. You’ll be in the dark longer than you can imagine…. ….
No electricity, no heating, no nuts. ….
Your biggest worries are at home. The heat. Maybe you keep food in the freezer. The one about the spring water… your pump will break down. Do you have enough food for a week? More?
Again, your biggest concern will be the heat. Plan on doing that in the future. A quick fix is a portable heater. I own and recommend the Heater Buddy as a simple and safe heater. I discussed this in the following article.
Games: Buddy Heater Runtime]
If you have a furnace (as opposed to an electric heating appliance), you must pre-protect its power source with a switch. That way you can use the energy from the generator to run the water heater. I did this with just a battery of solar panels and an inverter.
Those with electric heating (usually in the south because it is not often needed). A normal sized generator is not enough to run most electric heating systems at full capacity. They consume a lot of electricity/energy. Therefore, a portable heater is probably the best option for you.
Okay, next… You may have invested a lot of money in your freezer. Don’t open it. You’re good for 24-48 hours. Cover it with blankets. If you have a generator, you can plug in an extension cord. Run it for an hour, several times a day.
Read: Freezer or refrigerator during a power outage].
Some other useful things to do during an ice storm
Information. I recommend having a portable radio station that runs on batteries. One that receives AM/FM where you can find your local news and information. Some radio stations will keep working because the big guys have big generators to keep broadcasting.
[Read: Better AM radio for long-distance broadcasts].
Reading: The best cheap portable AM/FM radio]
Other obvious items include flashlights, headlamps, a safe indoor stove, warm blankets and ….patience.
Read: Safe stove for cooking indoors]
The most important thing to do before an ice storm is to get home first. Be proactive and find a solution for extra heating, as electricity will likely be cut off and winter will arrive. Safety first. Then there are the utilities.
Also, enjoy the beauty of the ice storm. It is a beautiful scene. Especially when the sun shows itself afterwards. Take some pictures. Let’s hope it doesn’t become a habit!
Frequently asked questions
How do you prepare for the ice storm?
Preventing damage from ice storms | safety tips | belairdirect
Is it possible to predict an ice storm?
Ice storms are difficult to predict because small changes in temperature in the first few thousand feet of the atmosphere can make a big difference in the impact of a storm. Nevertheless, warnings of ice storms should be taken very seriously because the danger can be so catastrophic.
How do you prepare for winter?
Get ready for winter Prepare your home for winter by insulating, caulking and removing insulation. Learn how to protect your pipes from freezing. Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with spare batteries. Gather supplies in case you run out of power for several days.
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