Punxsutawney Phil's initial prediction for an early spring may have gotten our hopes up a little too high. Luckily, there are measures we can all take to try to combat this weather swing.
1. Make sure flashlights and battery-powered radios are working, and keep extra batteries, candles and matches on hand.
2. Unplug sensitive appliances such as the TV, VCR, computer and microwave. If the power goes off, turn off all major electrical appliances.
3. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. If you lose power, frozen food will generally keep for 48 hours. Discard perishable food that has been at 40 degrees for more than two hours. Odor or appearance is not an indicator that food is safe. When in doubt, throw it out.
4. If you use an emergency-heating source such as a wood stove, kerosene heater or fireplace, keep fuels away from the flames and ventilate properly. Never leave a fire unattended.
5. Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication or diapers. Do not forget the needs of pets.
6. Don't leave your house if you don't have to. Take icy conditions seriously and especially be aware of black ice while traveling.
7. In the long-term, prepare your home for daming ice beforehand. Ice dams are chunks of ice that form along the margins of your roof. While frozen, they’re no more trouble than the icicles that hang down. But during the warmer parts of a winter day, water melting off the roof pools behind the ice then seeps back up under the shingles. Sometimes water can work its way 5 or even 10 ft. back up under the shingles. Eventually, it drips through the roof into the walls, and worst of all, onto your ceilings. You’ll first see ice dam rust spots on drywall fasteners, then perhaps peeling paint, sagging drywall and stains around windows and doors. Insurance companies pay millions of dollars to thousands of homeowners annually to repair the damage. But it’s never enough to cover the time and aggravation of getting everything fixed. LEARN MORE