February 21, 2023: A historic, massive winter storm will affect the U.S. coast-to-coast, today through Thursday. Expect heavy snow and 50–60 mph winds to produce blizzard conditions for parts of Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota. Some areas could experience record low temperatures and near-record snowfall.
The system also will bring sleet and freezing rain around the lower Great Lakes region, affecting parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, upstate New York, and Massachusetts.
Along the southern edge of the storm, heavy rain, high winds, and severe thunderstorms are possible from eastern Oklahoma to northern Ohio.
Weather like this causes pipes to burst, creates dangerous sidewalks and lots, knocks out power for days or weeks, and causes property damage.
You can help minimize damage with careful preparation and the following tips. If you need to file a claim, we’ll be here.
Get to know your sprinkler system. Monitor your systems using a central station that provides early detection of a pipe failure. Make sure to maintain the temperature in the control rooms.
Locate your water supply valves. If a pipe bursts, time is critical. Know where valves are located for all buildings. Keep the tools to close the valves nearby. Be sure to include areas with baptisteries, laundry rooms, and water heaters in your search.
Turn up the heat to above 55 degrees. Check the thermostat in all rooms to ensure the setting.
Prop open room doors and cabinet doors beneath sinks to keep heat circulating throughout the building.
Let faucets drip to keep water moving inside pipes.
Move vehicles off the lot and away from trees. A concrete parking garage is best, if possible. If not, allow staff to take home vehicles to spread your risk of damage.
Prevent damage from high winds. Before a storm, verify that sign connections are adequate or remove the sign and safely store it. Store outdoor equipment in a safe location. Identify and remove trees and branches that could fall on the building walls or roof, or on power lines.
Prep the generator. The goal is to maintain heat in the building, even if a big freeze takes down power lines.
Clear gutters of debris to allow melting snow to drain. Obstructions cause “ice dams” that block drainage and damage your roof. Check drains on flat roofs and remove leaves and other material.
Clear the snow and ice. Keep an eye on the roof when snow piles up. If an excessive amount falls, or the snow is blocked from sliding down the roof, it may be time to act. Either use a long-handled roof rake or call a licensed contractor to remove it safely. Don’t climb onto the roof to remove snow. Climbing onto an already stressed and slick roof can be dangerous.
Designate staff and/or volunteers in advance to clear sidewalks and parking lots of snow. Put snow shovels, salt, and entryway mats in easy-to-access locations.
Finally, keep emergency numbers close. Create a list of numbers that includes your insurance agent, plumber, water restoration company, heating contractor, electrician, and utility companies.
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