With one month of winter down and several weeks to go, it's already been a season for the record books. There hasn't been the amount of storms that there were last year. However, the ones that have struck have been substantial. At the end of January, for instance, the East Coast was blanketed with snow thanks to Winter Storm Jonas. The blizzard was crippling, particularly for motorists. In North Carolina, for instance, many motorists caught in the elements were left stranded, according to local news station WUSA 9. It's impact had drivers grateful for pursuing auto warranty options, as roadside assistance is often covered.
"Jonas dropped 30 inches of snow on 1.5 million people."
Though Jonas packed a punch, it didn't come in a small package. The massive weather maker spanned 434,000 square miles, according to estimates from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It also affected nearly 103 million people living in more than 20 different states. Additionally, 24 million households received 20 inches of fresh snow or more.
"This storm ranks up there with the great blizzards of the past 100 years in terms of amount of snowfall, size of impacted areas and population affected," said Paul Kocin, meteorologist at the National Weather Service.
To put that into perspective, Jonas ranks as the fourth most powerful winter storm to hit the northeastern corridor of the U.S. since 1950.
With the vernal equinox still more than a month away, another "snowmageddon" could be on the horizon. Even for hearty souls, a second winter wallop may have warm weather lovers longing for some place warmer after seeing what free home values have to say about properties for sale in the South.
With the proper preparation, though, you'll be able to weather any storm that Old Man Winter churns up. Here are a few winterization tips to keep in mind:
Install weather stripping
When temperatures plunge outdoors, dialing up the thermostat keeps things warm. When windows aren't closed tight, though, the warm air can leak out. This can lead to expensive utility bills. Install weather stripping along seals and cracks to keep warm air in and cold air out.
Prevent ice dams
Ice dams develop when melting snow trickles down the roof and then refreezes at the bottom. Icicles typically form, which can lead to water damage. You can avoid this by keeping all of your home's gutters free of dirt and debris. This allows melting snow to disperse more quickly. Another way to reduce the risk of ice damming is by installing insulation around light fixtures in the attic, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.
Crack faucets when temps dip
A major casualty of freezing temperatures are a home's water pipes. When water freezes inside them, it can lead to serious damage that may require a home insurance claim to afford the fix. You can avoid the hassle and inconvenience by turning the faucet slightly so water dribbles out. This is recommended during overnight hours when everyone is asleep. Crack the faucets if temperatures are expected to be in the single digits or below zero.
Remove snow from roof
Not a season goes by where roof collapses aren't reported, both for homeowners and business owners. A sturdy roof is built to withstand heavy pressure, but there is a breaking point. As noted by IBHS, between 10 and 12 inches of new snow is equal to one inch of water. This means that at four feet or more, it could cave in if the snow isn't removed. Head to a home improvement store and purchase a snow removal rake. Also, keep an eye on your roof throughout the season so you can remove what's collected before it's too late.
For more preventive measures, visit the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety's website.