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2 snow plows plowing a country road.

Use #MAsnow on Twitter for updates on a snow storm’s progress through Massachusetts.

As the Massachusetts winter progresses, it’s important that residents understand proper winter storm preparation procedures so they can keep their families and their homes safe during a blizzard or other weather emergency. Winter storm effects may include large snow accumulations, extremely cold temperatures, heavy, wet snow or icing on trees and power lines, roof collapses, closed highways, and blocked roads. Although snow storms are not new to New Englanders, the aftermath of a winter storm can have an impact on a community or an entire region for days, weeks, or even months.

Regardless of the severity of a winter storm, residents should be prepared in order to remain safe during these events.

  1. Take steps to winterize your home. This will not only protect against burst pipes or drafty windows, it also helps lower energy consumption and thereby reduces heating bills.
  2. Check your homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure adequate coverage.
  3. Trim dead tree branches and limbs close to your home.  Ice, snow, and wind can combine to snap limbs that can take down power lines or damage your house.
  4. If a storm is coming that may bring power outages, fully charge cell phones, laptops, and any other devices ahead of a power outage.
  5. Beware of the danger posed by heavy snow loads on roofs and know how to remove snow safely from rooftops.
  6. Put together a winter storm emergency supply kit, and make sure everyone in your home knows where it’s located.
  7. Understand the difference between the weather classifications used by reporters:
    1. Winter Storm Watch — Be alert, a storm is likely.
    2. Winter Storm Warning — Take action, the storm is in or is entering the area.
    3. Blizzard Warning — Snow and strong winds will combine to produce blinding snow, near-zero visibility, deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill.
    4. Winter Weather Advisory — Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous.
  8. Have sufficient heating fuel, as regular sources may be cut off.
  9. If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood in case of emergency.
  10. Bring pets inside during winter weather.
  11. If you have to drive, be a bit more cautious behind the wheel, winterize your vehicle and follow these tips for driving in winter weather. It’s also recommended to keep a winter emergency road kit in your vehicle, in case of unexpected emergencies.
  12. Parked vehicles can attract small animals which may crawl under the hood seeking warmth, so bang on your vehicle’s hood to scare them off before starting your engine.

As winter weather moves in, conditions can become dangerous quickly and unexpectedly, but by taking precautions, residents can protect themselves and their families during powerful winter storms or extreme cold.

What are your winter storm preparedness tips? Share your ideas by tweeting them to @MassGov or leave them in the comments below.

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