New England composes the North-Eastern most states in the country. If you live in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, or Massachusetts, you live in New England. According to the Red Cross, residents of New England are most susceptible to hurricanes and winter storms.
As is the case with all weather emergencies, you’ll want to begin gathering supplies to create an emergency preparedness kit. Keep essentials on hand year round like water, non-perishable foods, and a first-aid kit. Weather emergencies also always come with the risk of a power outage. Think about the last time you lost power, and decide if your household could benefit from a backup battery power source. The HomePower ONE is compatible with a wide range of household appliances, like the refrigerator and lighting, and can charge your electronic devices to keep you in communication with family and the community.
Here are some more tips to help you prepare for each type of weather event that can hit your area.
Since 1900, 39 tropical storms have hit New England, with 25 of them being officially classified as hurricanes. While this statistic may seem inconsequential given how common hurricanes are in other parts of the country, it is not unprecedented for hurricanes to hit New England multiple times in one season. As we suggest with all weather patterns, it is always best to be prepared instead of caught off-guard.
Hurricane season in the Atlantic is June 1 - November 30. Begin your preparation by assessing the risk a hurricane poses to your home and community. Evaluate what on your property could cause damage and remove risks like dead trees and be sure to have plenty of room inside to store lightweight yard furniture that could blow around in the wind. Learn the best routes of evacuation and practice them now, so you’ll be confident when the time comes to actually need to drive them.
2. Winter Storms
The Northeast generally experiences at least one or two major winter storms a year. These storms can make roads impassable, close airports, halt the delivery of goods, and cause power outages for days following the storm. The largest winter storm to date, the Blizzard of 1978, dropped 20-40 inches of snow and caused near-hurricane level winds of 65 mph, claiming lives along the way. Some people were trapped in their homes with 15-feet high snow banks blocking the doors, and it took crews two weeks to remove the snow in some locations, making it imperative to have your supply kits fully stocked ahead of time. Many winter storms can also stop traffic, making it wise to keep a spare emergency supply kit in your car. Keep energy bars, water, and extra warm sweaters and blankets in case you need to unexpectedly pull over for a while.
There are three major kinds of winter storms. Blizzards are severe, coming with 35 mph winds, extreme cold, large amounts of snow, and whiteout conditions causing reduced visibility of ¼ mile or less, lasting three hours or longer. Ice storms involve freezing rain or sleet, and are extremely dangerous due to the coatings of ice that can break tree branches, down power lines, destroy food crops, and create hazardous driving conditions. Nor’easters are large storm systems with gale force winds, often causing coastal flooding and erosion.
Ensure that your home is properly outfitted for winter weather conditions by caulking and weather-stripping all doors and windows. Add insulation in the walls, attics, and around water lines that are in exterior walls to prevent pipes from freezing. To further keep out the cold during a storm, install storm or thermal-pane windows or cover them with plastic from the inside. Ahead of time, repair any leaks in your roof and clear dead tree branches that could fall on your house or car.
On the spectrum between hurricanes and winter storms, thunderstorms fall somewhere in the middle. Although often chalked up to being a normal weather event or any day occurrence, thunderstorms can be just as dangerous as a hurricane or winter storm. Even when a storm is not categorized as a hurricane, you can still experience complications like fallen trees, live wires, and power outages. In fact, lightning is a leading cause of injury and possibly death from weather-related events.
Lightning strikes and rumbling thunder may often start well before rain hits your area, oftentimes 30 minutes. You may also experience winds of up to 50 miles per hour, flash flooding, hail, and tornadoes. Find out if your area has an emergency alert system that will let you know when a storm is coming and weather conditions being reported nearby. The most common cause of injury during a storm is someone ignoring or never hearing the weather alerts. If a storm is coming, clear hazards from your yard and find safe shelter.
If you’re living in New England, begin educating yourself about the effects of hurricanes, winter storms, and thunderstorms on your community. Begin preparing an emergency supply kit, identify potential hazards in or around your home, and learn evacuation routes and places of shelter. Since power outages are common with these types of weather events, consider purchasing an emergency generator like the HomePower ONE or SolarPower ONE.
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