Snow Moves In: Be Safe Before and After the Storm
February 2, 2011
AUGUSTA, MAINE – The winter storm forecast for Maine has arrived in full force. The National Weather Service indicates that snow may fall at a rate of 2 to 3 inches an hour in some locations later today, making visibility extremely limited and degrading road conditions quickly.
MEMA and all response partners join the NWS Gray and Caribou Forecast Offices in urging all Mainers to pay close attention to weather warnings, avoid all but essential driving, and stay safe.
- Avoid travel if possible. Heavy snowfall coupled with blowing and drifting snow will make for extremely hazardous driving. Leave the roads to the snowplows.
- If you must travel, slow down and plan extra time to reach your destination. Be sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas. Watch out for “the other guy” (and don’t be “the other guy.”)
- Pay attention. Stay “tuned in” to your best source of weather information to stay up to date on the latest predictions for the storm. Up to date weather warnings are posted at http://www.maineprepares.com
- If you lose power, use emergency generators and alternate heat sources safely. Run generators outside and away from windows, doors and vents. Misplaced generators (such as placed in or near the door of a garage or window) are a major cause of Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning. CO is a colorless, tasteless, odorless gas that can silently kill.
- Remember to keep outside vents for heaters and stoves clear of snow, as clogged vents may also pose carbon monoxide dangers.
- Check on neighbors and friends who may not be as well prepared.
- If you see a downed power line, stay away from it, and notify the electric utility.
The storm is expected to wind down through the evening and nighttime hours. After the storm, take care as you begin to dig out and clean up.
- Be careful when shoveling snow. Over-exertion can bring on heart problems or back injuries.
- Protect yourself by dressing for the season, wearing several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing, rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Mittens are better than gloves to keep hands warm. Wear a hat, as most body heat is lost through the top of the head, and cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
- Continue to keep travel to a minimum to allow plowing and clean-up operations to proceed smoothly. Be especially careful at intersections, as high snow banks may block your view of traffic
- Help dig out fire hydrants and storm drains in your neighborhood.
- Clear snow from house and barn roofs; 12 inches of wet or compacted snow can put as 20 pounds per square foot extra weight on your roof. Continue to keep all vents clear, and protect outside oil tanks from falling snow and ice.
- Look around for neighbors and friends who may need help to clear steps, driveways and roofs.
Special Safety message about Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:
Warning signs of CO poisoning are flu symptoms like headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion, but without a fever.
If you or anyone in the home thinks you are being poisoned by carbon monoxide:
* Leave the house at once.
* Call the fire department or 911.
* Get medical attention. Call the Poison Center (1-800-222-1222) or your doctor after you leave the house.
* Stay out of the building until the fire department tells you it is safe.
For more information on storm safety and preparedness, visit http://www.maineprepares.com Road conditions can be found at http://511maine.gov