WATCH: A Week of Beastly and Beautiful Weather

beastThis week started with winter in full swing with big wind and heavy snow affecting millions.

Before we get to the beast, let’s take a quick look at the beauty. Before the big storms made into the Great Smokey Mountains of North Carolina on Monday, light snow fell near Boone in a scene straight out of a fantasy film. Before long though, the clouds thickened, the wind picked up and the real snow began, blanketing the mountains in a new coating of white.

At the same time hundreds of miles northward, Massachusetts’ coast was being hammered by a pounding storm surge. The waves damaged homes, flooded streets and pushed sand and debris inland for blocks.

And making things worse, the snow came next, whipped by high winds, that caused more problems on the streets and threatened to bring down more powerlines, that would put more people in the dark during the storm’s peak.

Then we head to Pennsylvania. In Harrisburg, capital city residents got a big snow on Tuesday. Not just heavy in the air, but heavy on the trees too. Big, wet flakes fell for hours and for the most part it was more pretty than problematic. Traffic kept moving, people kept walking and cleanup wasn’t too bad.

Michigan got another storm on Tuesday, too. In the city known for helping us steer our cars, Saginaw saw the snow start to pile up in the afternoon and continue into the evening hours. And while people shoveled… the trucks plowed to keep the city moving. Winter’s still far from over, so as always, stay weather aware and be prepared.

For WeatherNation: John Van Pelt

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WATCH: How to Stay Alive in Deadly Winter Blizzards

Winter is far from over and as millions of us are still cleaning up after the last storm, we need to be prepared for the next one, whether it comes or not!

During the Blizzard of 2016 eighty million Americans were impacted by a full list of winter weather types. Sleet, snow, freezing rain, high winds and damaging storm surges contributed to more than 40 lives being lost as the system moved from the Deep South into New England.

Many of those lost in this event could have been saved with a little preparation and caution.

One of the most common indirect killers after winter storms is heart attack caused by over-exertion, usually from shoveling snow. If you’re heading out with your shovel, make sure you’re in good health; moving snow can be more strenuous than many normal exercises! Warm up before you start, use a small shovel to move many small loads instead of fewer large ones and take frequent breaks!

And while it’s easy to see how necessary clearing driveways and walkways of piles of snow is, we often forget about our roofs! Not only are icicles potentially dangerous daggers ready to fall at the earliest warming, but large snow shelves can be deadly too AND heavy snowfalls can cause roof collapse if left to pile up.

Another big killer during Winter storms, is carbon monoxide poisoning. With hundreds of thousands without power during this last storm, many turned to generators for power and used alternate heat sources to stay warm.

If you use a generator, make sure you have enough fuel to last for several days. Keep it outside, at least 20 feet away from windows, doors and vents. And install a carbon monoxide detector in main areas of your home, on every level.

The biggest rule to follow here is never use a generator, grill, camping stove or any other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a house, garage, basement, crawlspace or any enclosed area.

And if you have to sit in a running car to stay warm, always ensure that the exhaust pipe is clear of all obstructions, like deep snow. A plugged tailpipe can fill a car with deadly carbon monoxide in minutes!

When a storm is coming, we always joke about getting bread, milk and eggs and those are great supplies for making French toast, but don’t forget the basics for any emergency.

You need a gallon of water per day for each person in your home, food you can prepare without electricity, plenty of flashlights, a battery of crank radio and plenty of batteries! Make sure you have a phone charger and keep your gas tank at least half full all the time too!

The time to prepare for the next storm is now.

For WeatherNation: John Van Pelt

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