Dangers of Winter Storms

Snow can be beautiful, and certainly, if you are a skier, you look forward to it. On the other hand, winter storms can be some of the deadliest forces of nature. Unlike the precipitation and wind associated with storms in the summer, they can produce deadly cold temperatures and leave dangerously large amounts of heavy snow and ice.

One of the first dangers of snow is of course the fact that it may be nearly impossible to drive on or through. Even the best snow tires made are not enough to get through heavy, deep snow, or three foot drifts, not to mention the ice that may be lurking beneath. Sliding off the road or into the path of another vehicle is definitely a possibility. Becoming stranded, especially during blizzard conditions is immediately life threatening, not only from the fact that you could conceivably freeze to death, but from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Exhaust pipes that are clogged with snow, cause fumes to back up into the car and are responsible for deaths nearly every season. For those who may have the need to occasionally seek medical help, snowstorms even hamper emergency vehicles. If your area has emergency warnings and driving level restrictions, obey the advisories. Obviously, those who must be on the roads, clearing them, and protecting citizens, know more about the conditions than we do.

Even on foot, winter storms, at their worst, are dangerous. If you are trapped outside with wind chills well below freezing, you have very little time before frost bite or hypothermia sets in. Setting out on foot in isolated areas if your car becomes stuck is never a good idea.

At home, winter storms sometimes produce conditions that make even staying inside dangerous. Power outages are not uncommon, and without heat in the home, the temperature drops  quickly. Every year, homes are damaged, roofs collapsed and trees broken from heavy snowfall.

While it is necessary to dig out after a snowstorm, this is also something that needs to be approached with caution. Those that are unaccustomed to strenuous physical activity, or may have medical conditions should limit the shoveling and digging or hire someone else to do it. Heavy wet snow, lifted and thrown continuously can be dangerous for the back and the heart.

Snowstorms happen, and there is nothing that can be done to stop them. There are, however, many commonsense precautions that can be observed to get through the storm safely.