Starting on Tuesday, Mar. 12, a “bomb cyclone” has taken over multiple states in the Midwest, the Rockies, and other western areas. States including Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota and the Dakotas are experiencing severe blizzard conditions—dumping snow and heavy rain. With temperatures warming, the extensive amount of precipitation is causing all sorts of issues—from flooding to icy roads.
In case you’re unfamiliar, a “bomb cyclone” is short for a bombogenesis storm, which means it’s a storm that drops 24 milibars within 24 hours. A milibar is a measurement in surface-air pressure, so seeing a severe drop would mean severe weather changes. Hence the dramatic nickname.
Photo courtesy of The Moville Record
According to CNN, 175,000 people are without power mostly in Colorado and Texas. Conditions have been dangerous, and could severely impact the health of many homes. If you’re located in any of the affected areas, there are important steps you should take in order to ensure safety for your loved ones and for your house. Here’s what you need to do.
Don’t step into your flooded basement yet
If your place is still flooded, do not step into the water! If you have any electrical outlets or wires that have been flooded, the water could be incredibly dangerous to step into. You’ll want to make sure to completely have the electricity turned off before stepping into the water. It may be best to even wait until a utility company or electrician gives you the okay to move forward.
If you’re not sure what else you should or shouldn’t do, this Storm Survival Guide will walk you through it.
Fill the tub
While flooding could be the issue, this could also mean a shorter supply of fresh drinking water in general. In any storm situation, filling up the bathtub is way to ensure that you’ll have fresh water when needed.
If the power goes out, unplug everything
When the power goes back on, you want to avoid any surges that could destroy electronics that you own. Leave a light switched on that will indicate that the power is officially back on. Unplug everything. Here are 10 other things to know about winter power outages.
Only flush when necessary
Again, if you’re experiencing a winter power outage, you’ll want to limit the amount of running water used for a toilet. Only flush when it’s absolutely necessary, and bathe when it’s really needed.
Wrap the pipes
If the bomb cyclone is causing temperatures to drop, you’ll want to prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting. An easy way to do this is wrapping it up in newspaper, towels or blankets. If you’re looking for other temporary steps, here’s how to prevent pipes from freezing.
Check for frost cracks
If your landscape had to endure extreme colds, you’ll want to check for tree damage. Some trees could be cracked due to temperature fluctuations. So if it went from freezing cold to warmer spring temperatures, you may want to evaluate the landscape of your trees. If you see frost cracks in your trees, step away and call an expert. This tree creates a serious risk for anything around it.
Check for water damage
If your house has experienced some unfortunate flooding, you’ll want to check for water damage. Damage to this degree could create moldy wood and drywall, which is something you’ll want to avoid. Here are 10 tips for dealing with water damage, mold and mildew.
Keep the bathroom warm
This may sound silly, but if your bathroom gets below a freezing point, the water in your toilet could freeze causing the toile to actually explode (which yes, has actually happened before). To avoid this, place a space heater within your bathroom to ensure that the bathroom (and all of those pipes) stay warm.
Be prepared for next time
You’ll never fully know when a storm is going to hit, so it’s best to be prepared for when it does. These 12 things will help prepare you for a winter storm in the future.