Being trapped at home or stranded in a car without food, water or heat during a blizzard affects thousands of people every winter. It is a frightening, life-threatening experience.
The blizzard that dumped seven feet of snow in 24 hours on Buffalo, New York, in November 2014, causing at least 13 deaths, including people trapped in homes and cars, is a reminder that it is time to prepare for winter’s cruelty. Frigid temperatures and severe snowstorms are forecasted for many parts of the U.S.
The Buffalo storm caused thousands of power outages and trapped people inside homes as heavy snow buildup overwhelmed houses and wiped out utility services. It also stranded more than150 cars and trucks for nearly two days in frigid conditions. Hundreds more drivers were stranded on local streets as snowfall rates of 3-5 inches per hour made roads impassable, media reported.
The death toll of people who died in cars included a man trapped in his car more than 24 hours under a 15-foot snowdrift. He was driving home from work but pulled over in “white-out” driving conditions. When he called 911, dispatchers told him authorities couldn’t help.
Above-Normal Snowfalls Expected
The Old Farmer’s Almanac has a traditionally 80 percent accurate winter forecast record and predicts that the winter of 2014-2015 will feature another arctic blast with above-normal snowfall across much of the U.S. and that extreme weather will continue into summer, 2015. “Colder is just almost too familiar a term,” said Editor Janice Stillman. “Think of it as refriger-nation.” Other forecasters predict that the South will see ice again this winter, including Atlanta, Birmingham and Memphis. An active jet stream is expected to create severe weather events in January and February.
WSI, a unit of The Weather Company that owns The Weather Channel, predicts that winter’s chill will be more focused on the East Coast and Gulf Coast. The forecast through February, 2015, is based on an analysis of large-scale factors in the land-ocean-atmosphere system.
One factor is the presence or absence of El Nino — an area of warmer-than-average water in the eastern Pacific Ocean near the equator. WSI expects a weak to moderate El Nino to emerge over the winter months and potentially persist into the spring. This means that extreme weather and storm conditions will prevail.
Prepare to Survive the Worst
Authorities advise citizens, motorists, schools, businesses, churches and shelters to prepare for potential winter emergencies including entrapment by a blizzard or power outages.
The American Red Cross recommends that preparing for a blizzard, at minimum, should include having these basic supplies at hand. These should be kept at home, in a car, or both:
• Water—one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation)
• Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation)
• Battery-powered or hand-crank radios
• Extra batteries
• First aid kits
• Baby supplies, including food and diapers
• Pet supplies, including food and water
• Basic medications and medical items
• Multi-purpose tool
• Sanitation and personal hygiene items
• Cell phone with chargers
• Family and emergency contact information
• Emergency blanket
• Maps of the area
Quake Kare offers custom-packed and pre-packed emergency survival kits for cars, homes, offices, schools and other applications including choices of hundreds of supplies shipped in self-contained portable containers for easy access. These include non-perishable food, water, first aid kits, hand-crank power radios, light sticks, candles, waterproof matches, ponchos, multi-purpose knives, portable toilets, blankets, tissue packs and emergency tents and other items to help people survive virtually any disaster. http://www.quakekare.com/car-survival-kits-c-1_3.html
For expert advice, contact Quake Kare toll-free at 1 800 2Prepare (1-800-277-3727).