To bring in the New Year, the east coast and Great Lakes region of the U.S has been hit with severe winter weather–including massive snow accumulation and sustained below freezing temperatures. Winter storm Hercules struck the northeast with strong winds, arctic cold, and a lot of snow on Thursday. In some areas, the storm has already dropped nearly 18 inches of snow and caused the cancellation or delay of nearly 10,000 flights. The storm compromised the airports in Chicago, Washington, New York, and Boston and fears that the storm will intensify have led New York and New Jersey to declare states of emergency.
Transportation has been severely affected across cities in the region with trains and bus service suspended and highways closed. High winds, heavy snowfall, and plummeting temperatures are proving increasingly disruptive to daily life across the northeast. No travel warnings have been issued across states due to poor visibility and dangerous road conditions. The storm itself has a wide reach, extending from the Mississippi valley to the Atlantic coast. While the Midwestern U.S is also being affected, the worst of the storm is concentrated in the northeast and along the Atlantic coast. The sweeping arctic air that is causing temperatures to plummet is expected to cause record low temperatures throughout the region. Some 100 million people are anticipated to be directly affected by the storm across the Midwest and northeast. School closures are also occurring, including major universities in Boston, Philadelphia, and New York.
The importance of emergency preparation is illustrated in times like these. Winter storms are often overlooked as a cause of severe destruction and ongoing complications. Disaster preparedness during the winter can often be more critical than at other times during the year. The east coast of the U.S is routinely subjected to below freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall, but this first storm of 2014 has thus far been especially severe and far reaching. When the newly elected mayor of New York is urging residents to stay inside and all unessential state workers in Massachusetts and New Jersey have been told to stay home, you know the storm is legitimate. For blizzards like this, make sure you have extra clothing, blankets, food and water, batteries, lanterns, flashlights, radios, generators, and other essential items that you may require if you are home bound for a long time.
Also, be sure that you obtain the know-how you need when it comes to keeping your home safe. One way to do this is by following a few simple steps, at least when it comes to frozen pipes. And remember, the closure of many businesses may necessitate a do-it-yourself situation, so ensure that you stay safe and warm during this powerful storm.
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