Winter Storm Harper
Winter Storm Harper is on everyone’s minds. Will it hit us? How much snow will fall? If the wind is blowing a little south the storm could pass Chicago and its suburbs, but if the wind blows a little more northeast then Harper will lay a thick layer of snow on us. Whether the storm goes right through us or takes a small turn here are some winter tips to keep in mind.
- While shoveling, keep your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees and keep you back straight. Do not twist or throw snow while shoveling. Instead walk the snow to a spot you want to put it. Only shovel small amounts of snow at a time. Shoveling is a hard exercise. Make sure you take plenty of breaks while shoveling. Heart attacks from over exertion are a major cause of winter deaths.
- Keep cabinet doors open especially in the kitchen and bathrooms. This allows the heat from the home keep those hidden pipes warm. Also, think about allowing a small trickle of water to flow out of the faucets. The continual movement of water prevents the water from freezing in the pipe. This could prevent a pipe burst.
- Make sure no furniture is blocking heat registers. This helps keep costs of heating your home a bit lower while keeping the pipes from freezing as well.
- Avoid ice damming! Ice damming is when the snow melts off your warm roof and refreezes in the gutters. Ice damming leads to the water soaking into the home creating water damage. To avoid ice dams, insulate the attic floor to prevent the heat of the home escaping through the roof. Also, having a water-repellent membrane installed under your roof can prevent water intrusion even if ice damming occurs.
- Only drive if absolutely necessary. Don’t travel alone, or let others know when you leave and when you expect to arrive at your destination. Keep you gas tank full. Also, make sure your antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, and other fluids are full. In case you get stuck somewhere you want to be able to use your car to keep you warm. You should always have a blanket, extra gloves, bottled water, a first aid kit, and a flashlight in your car just in case you are in an accident and there is no one to come help immediately.
- A common misconception is that alcohol warms your body up. While the initial feeling of alcohol warms your stomach, the reality is alcohol is a blood thinner. The thinner your blood the faster your extremities (fingers and toes) will be susceptible to hypothermia. Try warm non-alcoholic beverages to keep your body warm or to quickly warm up the core after being outside for long period. (hot chocolate, coffee, etc.)
These tips are handy whether the storm lands 12 inches of snow or only a quarter of an inch. Use your better judgment when driving and shoveling. Also, make sure you are consistently checking the news for weather updates.