November 25, 2014 - Winter Storm Warning in Effect

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a winter storm warning in effect from 7 a.m. Wednesday, November 26 through 10 a.m. Thursday, November 27 for Central Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts, Northern Connecticut and Southern New Hampshire. Snowfall is expected to be heaviest west of Route 495 with 6-10 inches expected. For up-to-date information, please monitor the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency website.

Monitor Your Facilities

Given the long holiday weekend, please be sure to have maintenance personnel check on the facilities at least once a day. Check that the heating system is working properly, water flows from the faucets, and no leaks are present. If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, this may be a sign of a frozen pipe.

Make sure the temperature of all buildings is set at 55° F or higher at all times.

Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to know the location of all shut off valves: in the event a pipe bursts, you will need to stop the flow of water as soon as possible.

Safe Winter Driving

This storm happens to coincide with the Thanksgiving holiday when traffic will be unusually heavy. If you must drive, please take the following precautions:

Before you head out, remove snow and ice from your windshield, headlights, brake lights and anywhere else snow or ice has accumulated. Melting snow from other parts of the car can obstruct visibility.

Check your windshield washer fluid and keep your reservoir full. On snowy days, you may go through a half-gallon or more during your commute. Always carry extra fluid in your trunk. Make sure you have enough coolant (antifreeze). Use a mixture of 50% coolant and 50% water, and be sure to check for leaks. Even in the winter, a low coolant level can cause your car to overheat.

Keep bagged sand in your vehicle and use it to provide traction if you get stuck in the snow, or to prevent slips when passengers are getting in and out of your vehicle. Try to keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent the fuel line from freezing.

Wear your seatbelt. Wear sunglasses – winter sun on snow and ice can be blinding.

Plan ahead. Have your directions handy or, if you have a GPS, program it ahead of time so that you will not be fussing with it while driving.

Drive slowly. Maintain at least 8-10 seconds behind the car in front of you.

Roads can become icy when the air temperature falls below 40° F. Be especially careful on bridges and highway overpasses as these areas tend to freeze before the rest of the road and can be slippery.

Avoid distractions, especially cell phones and other mobile devices. Studies show that phone conversation tasks typically decreased driver reaction times and increased lane deviations. In hazardous weather, every second of reaction time counts. Slow down before you enter a curve or make a turn. Hard braking in the middle of a turn can cause a skid. Use your signals and allow time to change lanes.  Avoid abrupt actions.

Roof Safety

If not cleared off, dry, fluffy snow piled on roofs can act as a sponge, absorbing any additional sleet and rain, adding weight and stress to structures. Flat commercial roofs are most susceptible if they are not draining properly. Additionally, maintenance personnel should clear storm drains to minimize local flooding problems from this run-off. In many cases, roof ice dams can form, causing water build-up leading to interior damage. 

To minimize the risk of over-stressing a building roof due to accumulated or drifting snow, please take into consideration the following tips:

If roof snow can be removed from the ground with the use of a snow rake (available at most hardware stores), do so.

Use caution, as metal snow rakes conduct electricity if they come into contact with a power line.

Try to avoid working from ladders, as ladder rungs tend to ice up. Snow and ice collect on boot soles and metal ladders.

Flat roofs can be shoveled clear, but only if it is determined that the roof is safe to stand upon.

Exercise care when on the roof to avoid potentially dangerous falls. Flat roof drainage systems should be kept clear to minimize the risk of excess roof ponding in the event of subsequent heavy rainfall or melting.

Large icicles can form on roof overhangs, but do not necessarily mean ice damming is occurring.

Icicles overhanging doorways and walkways can be dangerous and should be carefully removed.

Because snow is heavy and roofs and other surfaces may be slippery, all of the above-mentioned actions should only be performed by able-bodied adults.

Protective headgear and eye protection is recommended.


In the Event of Injury or Damage

If you need immediate assistance with a claim, please call Kent Wilkins at 617-746-5743, or contact a disaster restoration specialist. For recommended specialists, please click here.