Winters can be cold and long. Snow and ice can turn a magical winter wonderland into a fridged nightmare very quickly. Freezing rains coat everything in a layer of thick ice. If the ice doesn't melt and it continues to grow it may become very dangerous indeed.
- 1/4 inch of ice is a nuisance. Windshields will be coated with ice and icy bridges could be hazardous. Tree branches and limbs will begin to have a light coating of ice.
- 1/4 to 1/2 inch is disruptive. Tree limbs can sag or even break. The roads will be icy and power outages could occur.
- 1/2 inch of ice or more is crippling. Tree limbs can snap off due to the weight of the ice. Power lines can be damaged and roads will be covered in ice.
On January 26, 2005 Versoix, Switzerland was hit hard with a massive ice storm. Wind gusts of 70 miles per hour plus temperatures of 10*F caused ocean spray to freeze, instantly covering everything in a heavy sheet of ice. Cars were frozen in place and the roads were turned into icy rivers.
Oklahoma and Missouri have declared states of emergency because of recent ice storms and freezing rains. Kansas has called in the national guard to help those stranded on roadways. Six people have died, several in road accidents. Stay off the roads as much as possible. If you have to drive remember to go slow.
An ice storm can be dangerous and even deadly, especially for areas who don't regularly receive extreme cold and don't have the infrastructure to adjust. Power outages could last for a few days. Icy roads and frozen cars could make getting to the grocery store impossible. Take these steps to be prepared.
- Keep flashlights with extra batteries nearby. Have candles ready.
- If possible have a secondary source of power to charge electronics and heat the house.
- Make sure fumes from a fire or strove are ventilated properly and never leave a flame unattended.
- Never run a gasoline-powered generator in the house as the fumes could prove deadly.
- Unplug sensitive electronics (computers, TV, microwave, etc.) as a power outage or surge could damage them.
- Keep the fridge and freezer door closed tight or food could spoil during a power outage.
- Drain your water pipes if heating the house is not possible. This will prevent the pipes from bursting in the freezing temperatures.
- Store plenty of food and water. A trip to the store is unwise.
- Keep a first aid kit ready. Icy sidewalks could cause falls and other injuries.
- Make sure to have at least a week's supply of any prescription medications.
- Store extra blankets and coats. Dress in layers to maintain body heat.
- Keep the car filled with gas. As soon as the ice melts you'll be able to get supplies or evacuated to a safer area.
- Remember to drive slow and make way for emergency vehicles.
- Cash will come in handy if the credit card scanners are down at the store.
- Keep contact information with you. Have a family disaster plan and practice regularly.
Photo Credit: http://www.philip-lutzak.com/weather/sea%20ice%20geneva.htm