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Winter Living in MSFPOA

WINTER INFORMATIONAL GUIDE

 

Winter Storm Safety Tips at Home

The American Red Cross recommends you have the following on hand prior to winter: extra blankets, hats, gloves, first aid kits, batteries, battery-operated sources of light, canned food (with a hand operated can opener), bottled water, and a battery-operated AM/FM weather radio. Your hands, feet, and head are especially susceptible to cold, and precautions should be taken to protect those parts of your body from the elements. Staying inside your shelter, regardless of how cold, is usually a better option than heading outside during a storm.

Suggestion for winter in MSFPOA

It is highly recommended each year-round resident have at least one proper vehicle for driving in the snow. Members also might consider purchasing a snowmobile and/or snow blower. Since the air ambulance cannot always land due to weather conditions, those members with medical conditions should plan ahead. Weather conditions and forecasts should be monitored regularly and plans made accordingly. When building a home, remember that a porch roof or awning will enable you to open the door even with heavy snow drifts. Plan ahead for snow removal, including where snow can be pushed to allow access to your home. Several items that ought to be purchased prior to winter include: snowshoes for each member of the family, at least one month supply of food, and a backup generator.

Snowplowing

Under the best conditions it will take the snowplow operator two hours to plow the main tributaries in Units 1 and 2, and five hours for Units 3 and 4. It will then take an additional two hours to plow out residents in Units 1 and 2, and four hours for those in Units 3 and 4. Under worse conditions, it might take the snowplow operator up to four hours to plow the main tributaries in Units 1 and 2, and nine hours for Units 3 and 4. Residents can then expect it to take an additional four hours for the snowplow to reach them in Units 1 and 2, and nine hours in Units 3 and 4. Common obstacles which add time to the snowplow operation include: parked or stuck vehicles, narrow roads and driveways, lack of locations to push snow, fallen trees and deep culverts. In the most severe winter conditions, the snowplow may not be able to plow at all due to snow accumulation and berm heights, and other equipment may need to be brought into the subdivision. Snow blowers attached to a snowplow used on a paved road will take up to twelve hours to open a road eight feet wide for a distance of four miles. Members requesting plowing of their driveways should be sure that their driveway is 14-16 feet wide, and that plans have been made for placement of the plowed snow.

Rising Temperatures and Snowfall

The temperature may sometimes actually climb before a major storm begins dumping snow. For example, if an Arctic air mass is parked over your region with bitter cold temperatures, an impending storm will often bring warmer, more humid air into the region from the south or east. Even though the air may be warmer, it may still be cold enough to snow. Also, more humid air often “feels” warmer than dry air even at the same temperature.

Snow Melt

Snow will not “melt” until the temperature rises above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Often after a large storm, however, if the temperature remains below freezing for an extended period of time, the snow will settle, become more tightly packed, and appear to have “melted.” This is especially true of dry snow. In general, snow crystals become more rounded and packed closer together over time, even though little of the actual water content is lost. However, on a sunny yet cold day when the wind is blowing, some of the water in the snow will sublimate directly into water vapor in the air.

Snow vs Rain

Determining how many inches of snow equals one inch of rain is tricky and depends on the location, temperature and weather conditions. The figure depends on whether the snow if fluffy and light or heavy and wet.

 Snowfall Records

The best place to find snowfall records for a particular location and/or date, is The Snow Booklet published by Colorado State University. Go to USATODAY.COM’s winter weather index and scroll down to the “snow and ice” headline for various links, including one telling you how to obtain this booklet through the university.

 Snow Rollers

Snow rollers look like snowballs, form a cylindrical shape, and can be as large as three feet in diameter. They form when down sloping winds roll up a sticky layer of snow sitting atop a drier layer. They are common in mountainous areas and the size depends on the weight and cohesiveness of the snow, strength of the wind, and slope of the terrain.

 Thin Ice

Avoid skating, walking or riding alone on ice, stay a few feet away from any other people with you on the ice, and always carry a rope to help a companion who might fall through the ice. If you happen to be alone and fall through thin ice, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommends: don’t panic, turn toward the direction from which you came, place your hands and arms on the unbroken edge of the ice, and kick your feet in the water to push your body onto the ice. If the ice breaks again, maintain your position and continue to slide forward. Once you are lying on the ice, roll away from the hole, don’t stand up until well away from the break, and then seek immediate medical attention.

 Winter Storm Safety Tips on the Road

Driving in snow, even with four-wheel-drive, can be challenging. While six inches of soft snow may be easily driven, six inches of wet snow may prove more difficult. Avoid driving except when necessary, always let others know of your destination and time of departure, and have enough gasoline before leaving. Winterize your car before it gets cold, and carry extra clothing, blankets, hats, gloves, a shovel, snow chains, a cell phone, and a car emergency kit in your trunk.

 Flying Snow

Once the storm has passed, the danger of flying snow from other vehicles emerges. Snow on top of moving vehicles can be especially dangerous as the snow, warmed by the temperatures inside .the vehicle, begins to melt and suddenly break loose. Even if this snow does not hit another vehicle, it can melt and later form ice. Remember to continue to drive carefully, even after a storm has passed, and keep your distance from vehicles in front of you.

 Black Ice and Spinning Vehicles

Even if precipitation does not fall, condensation, such as dew, freezes when temperatures reach 32 degrees or below, and forms an extra thin layer of especially slippery ice known as black ice. The shine from black ice can appear as simply water on the road, fooling both pedestrians and drivers. It most often forms first under bridges or overpasses, or in shady spots or intersections. During freezing weather, even if no precipitation has fallen, drive conservatively and keep plenty of space between yourself and other vehicles in order to allow for longer stopping distances. If your car begins to spin, take your foot off the gas, shift into neutral quickly, and steer in the direction you want your car to go. Before the rear wheels stop skidding, shift back into drive and gently press the accelerator. Never slam on the breaks. Bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways due to the lack of land beneath to keep them warm, and the fact that they are hit by wind from above and below. When approaching a bridge or overpass, remember to slow down, drive conservatively, avoid changing lanes, and keep plenty of distance from other vehicles.

 Potholes

Winter weather can be especially tough on roads. When water seeps into cracks in the road it freezes and expands, pushing up sections of ground. When the ice melts, the sections collapse under the weight of vehicles and form potholes. Larger potholes can cause damage to your vehicles’ front suspension.

 Additional Information

For additional information on winter weather, ice, storm safety tips, road hazards, etc. check the winter and weather safety pages on USATODAY.COM for links to various resources.

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