The abrupt change in weather this past weekend was the slap in the face to us all that summer is over, fall is here and winter is just around the corner. And much to everyone’s chagrin, it is predicted to be a bigger bear than last year.
Mark Torregrossa, chief meteorologist at Mlive.com has written several posts about this coming winter and the expected temperatures. He has invited us to check out his reports with the following link:
Well Michiganders, looks like we have two choices at this point. We can either RUN south now or take the necessary measures to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature decides to throw at us. Since heading south for the winter is not a viable option for many of us, here are ways you can stay one step ahead of that ice patch, north wind, and fuel line freeze up courtesy of www.ready.gov/prepare.
Before Suzie Snowflake arrives:
Take time to gather emergency supplies and put them in a convenient place for around your home, such as:
rock salt and sand for traction
sufficient heating fuel including a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for the fireplace or wood-burning stove
roof rake – (my suggestion)
other snow removal equipment
If you have a snowblower, take the time now to prepare it for the first snowfall by making sure it works, has fuel or needs a professional to tune it up. Better now when the driveway is clear than later when it’s not.
Winterize Your Home
Winterizing your home with extra insulation extends the life of your fuel supply. Add extra insulation to outside walls and attics. Caulk and weather-strip windows and doors and install storm windows or cover windows with plastic.
Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on your house or other structures during a storm.
Maintain heating equipment (furnaces and gas fireplaces) and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.
Insulate pipes with insulation, newspaper or plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Running water at a trickle helps prevent freezing pipes.
Be sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside and kept clear.
Learn how to shut off water valves in case of bursting pipes.
Winterize Your Vehicle
Have your vehicle(s) checked for the following:
Antifreeze levels to ensure they are sufficient
Battery and ignition system should be in top condition with battery terminals clean
Brakes inspected for wear and fluid levels
Exhaust system checked for leaks. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.
Fuel – during the winter, keeping your tank full keeps the fuel line from freezing. (My dad advised me never to let the gas gauge get past half a tank in extreme cold weather to avoid this. He was right!) Check with your mechanic if additives are necessary to be added to the fuel tank to keep water out of the system.
Air filters should be replaced
The thermostat, heater and defroster should be checked that they are working properly
Check oil for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and don’t lubricate as well
Windshield wipers should be changed to suit the upcoming weather conditions. Maintain proper washer fluid levels and keep a spare bottle in the trunk of you vehicle in case you run out on the road
Perhaps most importantly, install good winter tires! Make sure tires have proper treads. All-weather radials are appropriate for most winter conditions.
While this list of suggestions won’t change the winter weather forecast for us in Michigan, it may take some of the bite out of winter. In the meantime, let’s hope that this time, the meteorologists ARE REALLY WRONG about the forecast!