Winter Weather Update

January 22-25, 2024 - Arctic Blast brings temps at least 30 degrees below normal in most states for this time of year. NWS: Freezing rain producing ice accumulations will continue through this evening across portions of the Plains, Mississippi Valley and Ohio Valley. Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms will develop across the Gulf Coast and Lower Mississippi Valley today through Thursday, with flooding possible. Meanwhile, an active weather pattern continues on the West Coast, with heavy rain and mountain snow expected. See the full National Weather Service Forecast.

It’s time to prepare for whatever is headed your way.

If freezing weather or a winter storm is imminent

When freezing weather is in the forecast, it is time to take immediate action to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. If you need to file a claim, we’ll be here. 

  1. TURN UP THE HEAT TO ABOVE 55 DEGREES. Check the thermostat in all areas of your building to ensure the heat is on (especially in unused areas) and to double check the setting is at least 55 degrees.
  2. PROP OPEN ROOM DOORS AND CABINET DOORS BENEATH SINKS. Do this to keep heat circulating throughout the building.
  3. LET FAUCETS DRIP. This keeps water moving inside pipes.
  4. LOCATE 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.
  5. 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.
  6. PREP GENERATOR. The goal is to maintain heat in the building when a big freeze takes down power lines.
  7. ADD EMERGENCY NUMBERS TO CONTACTS. Create a list of numbers that includes your insurance agent, plumber, water restoration company, heating contractor, electrician, and utility companies.

If wind or heavy ice also is predicted – here are more actions you can take to prevent or minimize damage:

  • 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.

If heavy snow also is predicted:

  • 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.

Freezing weather also creates dangerous sidewalks and lots:

  • 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.

Free Resources for Ministries

Whatever disasters are common to your area, our online Safety Library can help you prepare—and recover. We’ve selected a few articles to get you started:

Winter Weather Prep

Disaster Planning and Recovery

Additional Topics

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