Take hurricane winds. Add freezing rains, blasting snows, and a wind chill that can impact your body as if the temperature were 30 degrees lower. Now have all that blow in off the ocean from the northeast. Congratulations! Prepare yourself to experience one of winter's most ferocious storms — what local folks refer to as a "nor'easter"!
Nor'easters have been known to last for days, cause flash flooding, damage thousands of homes, and bring activity to a standstill. If a nor'easter could be in your future, here are several safety recommendations that may make the difference between riding out a nasty storm and severe injury or damage:
- Pay attention to winter weather advisories. You can't properly prepare for a storm you never see coming.
- Understand that "wind chill" is a real measure of danger to exposed skin, eyes and ears.
- Make sure the attic and walls of your home are properly insulated. Install weather stripping on exterior-facing windows and doors. Follow general winter preparation procedures for water pipes, windows and shutters.
- Create a family preparedness plan, including possible escape routes, local shelters, pet preparations and contact information in case family members are separated.
- If evacuation becomes necessary, be certain your vehicle is prepared and stocked with clothes, blankets, snacks, safety devices and a first aid kit.
- Designate a location to rendezvous if a storm hits while family members are separated at work, school, or elsewhere.
- Create an emergency supplies kit: Include water, food, first aid, non-prescription drugs, tools, sanitation, clothing, bedding, entertainment (games and books). Many safety groups such as the Red Cross can provide extensive checklists of specific items.
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