The 2013-2014 winter season saw snow blanketing most of the U.S even in states that rarely see snow or ice such as Florida, Texas and Georgia. New York City had 56.6 inches of snow; Boston saw 53.5 inches; Chicago had 67.9 inches. Frigid temperatures fell across the Midwest, canceling school and keeping people housebound for days.
But that was last year and those days are behind us. Not so fast. The 2014-2015 winter season kicked off to a robust start as Buffalo recorded more than 50 inches of snow in one day, and multiple feet accumulating in the days following.
How do you handle extreme snowfall like the storm the Buffalo area is experiencing? The Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA), the North American organization representing snow management professionals that clear snow and ice has this advice.
"The snow storm in Buffalo is a good reminder about the dangers of snow and ice," said Martin B. Tirado, CAE, CEO of SIMA. "Venturing out during a significant snowstorm increases the chance of having a car accident, getting stranded in your car, falling and breaking a bone, or suffering from frostbite. Just stay home."
To stay safe during an extreme snow event, SIMA has these tips:
TIP #1: Check the weather reports. Listen to the news to hear about your local road conditions before leaving your home. Pay careful attention to what roads are impassable and plan another route. If the roads are hazardous or closed, take heed and stay home.
TIP #2: Be prepared. Like the Boy/Girl Scouts, be prepared for hazardous weather. Have an ice scraper and brush in your car--not in the trunk, as snow may make it difficult to open the trunk. Have a full tank of gas; check the tire pressure, battery, and oil. Wear the proper clothing--boots, gloves, hats, scarves, etc., and take extra clothes. Charge your cell phone before leaving home and take a car charger.  Carry a safe winter car kit containing items such as kitty litter, rock salt, a shovel, a blanket, flares, water, etc.
TIP #3: No need for speed. Slow down. The time you need to stop, the possibility of sliding on ice all increase when it starts to snow or when freezing conditions persist.
TIP #4: Stay back. Make sure you remain a good distance away from snow removal equipment. While the strong lights on the snow removal equipment should allow the professional to see you, these lights can be blinding if they are behind you. In addition, some trucks may be spreading salt further blocking your ability to see.
Following these tips from SIMA will help ensure that you survive whatever this winter brings your way.