The Abominable East Coast Winter

The winter of 2013-14 has been harsh across the U.S. The Atlantic coast of the U.S, in particular, has been affected by sustained arctic temperatures and snowstorms that have complicated transportation, forced closures of businesses and schools, and endangered lives. The Atlantic coast across the Mississippi Valley has remained buried in snow and ice since the beginning of the winter and millions of people have been adversely affected by the series of storms. Maintaining ongoing severe weather preparation is still extremely important, especially since more freezing winter weather is still expected across the region.

Residents should continue to prepare for severe weather by ensuring homes are well sealed and insulated, and all appliances are in working order. Some parts of the east coast have been expected to receive 6-12 inches of snow throughout February–consistent with the relentless blizzard season that has not spared the region all winter. This harsh winter season has reinforced the importance of disaster preparation. While most areas affected by the storms have not been declared states of emergency, the arctic cold and intense snowpack have all but guaranteed dire circumstances–particularly for travel. In some parts of the deep south, unaccustomed to snow and ice, state officials have declared emergencies and mandated closures.

In this weather, it is important to monitor the use of supplemental heating devices at home and take care with fireplaces. Fires at home can be a serious concern during prolonged cold weather, so make sure chimneys are clean, flammable materials are kept away from heat sources, and supplemental heaters are turned off and unplugged while you’re away. You will also need to clear snow from your roof if you live in a house. During consistent snowstorms like those in the Atlantic region, regularly removing snowpack from the roof is necessary to prevent roof damage. The weight of snow and ice on the frame of a roof can exceed it’s load bearing capacity and cause damage or even lead to collapse. This is especially important after a recent snowstorm. Residents should continue to take every precaution to stay safe and warm during the rest of this long, harsh winter.

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