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Winter is not out of here yet

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It has been a rough winter, one that we have not seen the likes of in this area for 20 years. Even Lancaster snow enthusiasts have got to be tired of the snow already … and we are set to get more, much more, early next week.

S&S Storm Chasing and Forecasting Team announced overnight that several weather models are agreeing that we are in for a major event Sunday/Monday (2-3 March). While they did not offer any ideas of amounts, since it is too far out yet, they did warn “At this time from DC to BAL and points North and West should pay close attention to the forecasts.” They also showed a model that is indicating a good 10 inches.

The Eastern PA Weather Authority (EPAWA) is leaning towards a Monday/Tuesday (3-4 March) storm. They warn two models are showing a “plausible solution.” The EURO shows a possible 8 to 12 inches for the East Central and Southeast PA areas. The CMC shows 10 to 15 inches for the areas. The EPAWA does also mention a possible storm on the 1st of March however indicates that storm will get “crushed by the Polar Vortex.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) predicts a “significant and possibly long-duration winter weather event” for Sunday/Monday. The precipitation is expected to start as snow then mix or change to sleet and freezing rain.

Eric Horst, meteorologist at the Weather Information Center at Millersville University, also warns of “potential for significant snow/ice storm.” His prediction is for Sunday/Monday.

Ice Jams & Localized Flooding

The NWS also is warning of isolated ice jams forming and causing local flooding. This scenario is especially possible in the smaller creeks of the area. An ice jam occurs when chunks of ice break free upriver but get stuck together as they move down the river. Essentially it creates a dam, much like a beaver does with timber. While most of the City may not have to worry about this issue, the parts that border the Conestoga River may have experience some flooding.

Move valuables to the second floor. Use sand bags if needed. Also, now is the time – before a flood actually occurs – to confirm your flood insurance. Many insurance policies do not automatically cover flooding. If flooding becomes imminent, anchor fuel tanks and raise heating or ventilation systems. Add a sump pump in your basement.

Power outages

As many in the Lancaster now first hand now, when the snow and ice pile up on the tree limbs, the limbs can break. When those limbs fall onto power lines, it can cause power outages. PPL Electric Utilities is prepared to quickly and safely respond to customers who may lose service due to accumulating ice and snow. If you lose power, please report your outage by calling 1-800-DIAL-PPL (342-5775) or visiting our online Outage Center at www.pplelectric.com/outage. PPL relies on customers to tell us about outages. The website also has tips to prepare for stormy weather and other information.

Preparing for winter storms

Preparing for winter storms does not have to be costly. Keep a supply of non perishable foods and fresh water. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other preparedness sites, suggests maintaining a three day supply per person. Again this does not have to be expensive. Look at your pantry. Can you make it three days without running to the store? If so, you are set!

Make sure you have a snow shovel in your car. Cat litter is good to have on hand as well. If you slide off the road or get stuck, the cat litter – poured at your tires – gives the car traction to get moving again. In addition when the cat litter is in the trunk, it gives you extra weight in the trunk. Rock salt and sand also works. Cat litter, especially if you have cats, is the least expensive. Simply buy an extra bag or tub of your feline’s favorite brand and leave it in your trunk. When you use it – be it for the cat or the car – simply replace.

Be sure you have extra blankets and warm clothes. Dress in layers. Bring in outdoor pets. Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news for information specific to your area. For more tips on preparing for extreme cold, visit the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Upcoming Events & Information Request

Lancaster City is located in South Central Pennsylvania. Home to over 60,000 people, it is the County Seat. Do you have an upcoming event or information that would interest the Lancaster community? If so, please email Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman at jeanne.eckman@comcast.net.

Subscribe to get free, instant updates on preparedness on Examiner.com. If you would like to write on prepping issues affecting your community, please go to http://exm.nr/MzOl5q.

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