In the wake of the fourth Nor’Easter, tens of thousands of East Coast citizens have been left without power after the Northeast is hit with another winter storm.
“More than 29,000 customers were still without power…after the Interstate 95 corridor was pummeled with as much as 19 inches of snow on Wednesday, the first full day of spring” (Jamieson and Siemaszko, 2018).
What exactly is a Nor’easter? A Nor’Easter in itself, is a collection of strong winds and low pressure that hits the eastern and northern regions of Northern America, creating an immense cyclone. When the Jet Stream moves from the West Coast to the East Coast; the strong winds from the Jet Stream meet the low pressure from the Atlantic Coast and clash to create a Winter Storm of high winds, cold temperatures, and heavy snowfall in corresponding regions. “ The latest storm was a product of a weather system that bombarded Texas with hail on Sunday, churned up tornadoes in Alabama…and were blamed for severe storms in Florida on Tuesday” (Jamieson and Siemaszko, 2018).
Credit: MTA New York City Transit / Marc A. Hermann
Preparing for a Winter Storm:
1. Stay informed. Whether the storm has been foreseen or if it has arrived suddenly; staying informed and knowledgeable about upcoming and ongoing weather conditions can help provide vital information on storm intensity, help you provide the ability to track the storm and other vital emergency information such as evacuation centers and city-wide orders.
2. Be prepared. If you are expecting an upcoming storm, chances are that there will be the possibility of power outages occurring in your area. When travel is not an option to procure supplies, it is important that one must stock up prior to any natural disaster or occurrence. Ensure that you have enough supplies to last at least one week.
- Getting candles, matches and batteries for flashlights are an absolute must for any power outage scenario. In addition to this, a generator may also provide the security of power when faced with an outage.
- Procure self-powered radios and portable emergency battery packs to ensure you have a way to charge your phone to make contact in case one is faced with a dire emergency.
- Water, water, and water. One must be prepared to buckle down in case travel is restricted. Purchasing water bottles and emergency water rations can help provide yourself with a safety blanket in terms of staying hydrated. In addition to this, filling the bathtub and sinks is a good way to store water for any emergency scenario.
3. Turn Off Your Water Supply. Turning off your main water supply to your home or business will prevent water from freezing in pipes and bursting them…therefore preventing possible expensive damages.
4. Have a Heat Source. If available, have a fireplace, wood stove, or a kerosene heater to help keep you warm. Having a generator can help with backup energy as well. If anticipating a long power outage, be careful to conserve energy and resources.
Using A Generator During an Emergency Scenario:
Understanding Wattage and Power
- Be sure to check with the manufacturer's product manual to gain proper understanding of how to run and maintain your generator.
- Try and determine the amount of power you will need for your lights and appliances.
- Ensure that your generator produces more power than what will be used. If your generator does not produce enough power to run your lights and appliances all at once, try and stagger your usage to adjust to power available. *If your equipment requires more power than what is available, it is possible to blow a fuse on the generator or damage any attached equipment.
Practicing Generator Safety
- To prevent emissions from drifting indoors, always place your portable generator as far as possible away from the doors and windows.
- Try and point the generator exhaust away from any nearby people and place it downwind from your location.
- Carbon monoxide detectors will alert your family before toxic levels are reached. Be sure that your alarm is in working order.
- Never use generators indoors, incorrect usage can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. If you start to feel sick or lightheaded while the generator is in use, get to fresh air as soon as possible. For immediate assistance please contact your local emergency services.
- Store fuel in an approved safety can outside of living areas in a protected area. Be sure to check with local laws that may pertain to the storage of fuel.
- Be sure to fully seal any fuel container properly, for vapors may still linger and be ignited by a pilot light or other forms of electrical arcs.
- Always use the recommended type of fuel for your generator. Keep in mind that propane will store longer than gasoline.
- Never plug a generator directly to a wall outlet. This practice can harm utility workers or neighbors who are running of the same utility transformer.
- The safest way to connect a generator to your house is to have a power transfer switch installed.
- Using a stationary or backup/standby generator is the best way to provide backup power.
For major emergencies, please be sure to contact your local emergency services for immediate assistance.