Prepare for Spring Weather
Spring weather can be unpredictable. Reduce injury risk and plan ahead
Spring is the time of year when many things change—including the weather. Temperatures can swing back and forth between balmy and frigid. Sunny days may be followed by a week of stormy weather. Sometimes extreme weather changes can occur even within the same day. Mark Twain once said, "In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours."
Thunderstorms cause most of the severe spring weather. They can bring lightning, tornadoes, and flooding. Whenever warm, moist air collides with cool, dry air, thunderstorms can occur. For much of the world, this happens in spring and summer.
Because spring weather is so unpredictable, you may be unprepared when severe weather hits—particularly if you live in a region that does not often experience thunderstorms, tornadoes, or flooding. And when severe weather hits unexpectedly, the risk of injury and death increases. So planning ahead makes sense; prepare for storms, floods, and tornadoes as if you know in advance they are coming, because in the spring, they very likely will.
Advance planning for thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes, and floods requires specific safety precautions.
Often by the time we are aware of an approaching storm, we have little if any time to prepare for it.
Advance planning for thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes, and floods requires specific safety precautions. You can follow many of the same steps that you would for all extreme weather events. Keep an emergency kit on hand. Some items to include are:
- A battery-operated flashlight, a battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio, and extra batteries for both
- An emergency evacuation or shelter plan, including a map of your home and, for every type of severe weather emergency, routes to safety from each room
- A list of important personal information, including:
- telephone numbers of neighbors, family, and friends
- insurance and property information
- telephone numbers of utility companies
- medical information
- According to the American Red Cross a first aid kit may include:
- non-latex gloves
- assortment of adhesive bandages
- antibiotic ointment
- sterile gauze pads in assorted sizes
- absorbent compress dressings
- adhesive cloth tape
- aspirin packets (81 mg each)
- first aid instruction booklet
(NOTE: Customize your first aid kit to meet your individual and family needs.)
- A 3–5 day supply of bottled water and nonperishable food
- Personal hygiene items
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- An emergency kit in your car
Prepare your family members for the possibility of severe weather. Tell them where to seek appropriate shelter as soon as they are aware of an approaching storm. Practice your emergency plan for every type of severe weather. Show family members where the emergency supplies are stored, and make sure they know how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity in your home.
Often by the time we are aware of an approaching storm, we have little if any time to prepare for it. But we do know that when spring arrives, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and floods are real possibilities. So why not take the surprise factor out of severe weather and prepare yourself, your family, and your home? If thunderstorms, tornadoes, and floods do occur, you'll be ready for them.
photo credit: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91jFL7vwP%2BL._SX700_.jpg
Free Family Summer Activities
Because if Anyone Needs a Time Out, it’s Your Wallet
Listen, we’ve been there. Family vacations can be an exercise in personal sanity for many parents. There’s the mini-van that took hours to pack, the endless Elmo videos playing on the DVD player, the fear of the impending temper tantrum and the desire to just have a vacation everyone will love.
But the need to spend an arm and a leg shouldn’t be on that list.
Thankfully, a visit to Cleveland ensures that you’ll get a fun (for kids AND parents) vacation that won’t require you to refinance your home. The city offers a series of free – yes we said “FREE” – family-friendly summertime events, attractions and activities that strike the perfect balance of cool and no-cost experiences.
Browns Training Camp
So, who is this Johnny Manziel anyway? And, why is my kid so obsessed with seeing him play? Head on over to the Cleveland Browns Training Facility in Berea, Ohio to watch Cleveland’s NFL team prep for the season. Watch the team gear up for the season on the outdoor training field at no cost.
The Observatory Park, located in Geauga County, just 45 miles southeast of Cleveland, is a certified Dark Sky Park (it’s only one of nine in the entire world). This 1,100-acre park inhibits light pollution to create an unbelievably starry sky. This means that kids and adults can learn about how galaxies and the natural world connect in a completely one-of-a-kind outdoor setting. Observatory Park has a variety of fascinating educational programming, an on-site planetarium, outdoor exhibits and telescopes.
Parade the Circle
Don’t be alarmed when elaborate puppets standing two-stories high cross paths with a steel drum band being mobilized by only human feet. You’re at Parade the Circle, an uncanny mix of art and music coming alive right before your eyes. This completely family-friendly parade is void of anything you’d expect with a typical parade, but filled with a fantastic array of whimsy and one-of-a-kind art.
An afternoon walk through the Rockefeller Greenhouse offers the right escape from the rigamarole of the typical vacation sights and sounds. The greenhouse features a wide variety of exotic gardens, flowers and other plants indigenous to Cleveland.
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland – Learning Center & Money Museum
Ever wondered how we bought things before money existed? And, who makes our money anyway? All these answer and more answered at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Learning Center and Money Museum. Kids can get a look at the Money Tree where they can track counterfeit money and follow the history of money through the ages.
Cleveland Police Museum
Got a kid who loves to play cops and robbers? Delve into the history of Cleveland law enforcement at the Cleveland Police Museum—free of charge. See confiscated firearms, uniforms, artifacts and more from Cleveland’s past including things from the legendary crime fighter, Eliot Ness.
International Women’s Air and Space Museum
The International Women’s Air and Space Museum at Burke Lakefront Airport documents women’s past and present accomplishments and contributions to the fields of aviation and space. A collection of memorabilia and historical artifacts preserve the memory of women aviation pioneers.
Exploring History – Outdoors
Take a Hike Tours
Ever wanted to meet John D. Rockefeller? Well, here’s your chance. Take a Hike Tours are unique walking tours of downtown Cleveland that come “alive” with costumed characters from Cleveland’s past. Enjoy the beautiful Cleveland summer, walk off some of those vacation calories and get schooled on the history of this destination.
Turn off the electronics and start learning about life before YouTube. Get up-close with farm animals and learn about agricultural life from the early 1900s. Stearns Homestead is a working farm complete with animals, museums, gardens and a display of historical farm and household items.
Lake View Cemetery
Taking your family to a cemetery may not initially seem like a great idea. But Lake View Cemetery is different. This incredible place is filled with sculpture, architecture and tributes to those who made great contributions to the area’s industrial and civic development. Lake View Cemetery counts J.D. Rockefeller and African American inventor Garrett Morgan among its famous residents. And here’s a tip: on a clear day stand atop the memorial for President James A. Garfield for a fantastic view of the city. While there, be sure to take a tour of Wade Oval Chapel and the Garfield Monument (where you can take the stairwell down to the basement to see Garfield’s tomb).
Perhaps what our children need is an understanding of life without technology. Enter: Amish Country. Geauga County, located just a 40-minute drive from downtown Cleveland, offers families the opportunity to truly immerse themselves in this unique culture. Think: horse-drawn buggies, homemade pies, handmade goods and exceptional craftsmanship.
Lakewood Front Porch Series?
Do the kids need to burn off some of that post-dinner energy? Head on over to the urban neighborhood of Lakewood to enjoy music on the front steps of the Lakewood Public Library. Entertainers range from jazz and indie music to early 60s Americana and folk music.
Blossom Music Festival
Each summer, the internationally renowned Cleveland Orchestra takes its talents south – to the Akron area that is. The orchestra performs outdoor summer concerts at Blossom Music Center, situated in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. While there’s a small admission fee for adults, kids under 18 years old are admitted free for lawn access. Pack the picnic basket, grab a blanket and enjoy a really cool repertoire of family-friendly music (The Wizard of Oz, The Little Mermaid, Sci-Fi, The Beatles).
Wade Oval Wednesdays
Every Wednesday this summer, enjoy live music in the heart of University Circle. Reggae, jazz, rock – Wade Oval Wednesdays (WOW) has it all. Bring a picnic basket or relax in the beer and wine garden with a great view of the stage. Great for little ones who need to let loose.
Convene With Nature
Many new visitors to Cleveland are often amazed by the impressive amount of natural greenspace the region has to offer. Take advantage! The Cleveland area has a number of nature centers that are FREE and perfect for kids. Why not learn a thing or two on summer vacation?
Cleveland Area Beaches?
While surfing in Ohio might sound crazy, the truth is that Cleveland offers a variety of accessible (and FREE) beaches along its Lake Erie coast with swimming, sailing, surfing and some of the best walleye, perch and bass fishing in the world. Check out some of these notable beaches:
blog credit: http://www.thisiscleveland.com/articles/view/free-family-summer-activities/742/
photo credit: http://www.redskeltonmuseum.org/sites/redskeltonmuseum.org/files/styles/top_image/public/parade%20pic_0.jpg?itok=OYuU8nCi
Winter Weather Damage
Winter and the snow and cold that it brings can do some serious damage to a home’s exterior.
There are several very common problems usually brought on by the winter months, including damage done to roofs, foundations and pipes.
Insurance agents can share this list with their clients to help them check their homes for damage and give them an idea of what the costs will be to remedy these common problems after winter:
1. The roof
Ice dams and winter storms can do a lot of damage to your roof.
An ice dam occurs when snow on the roof melts, runs to the edge and refreezes there, forcing water back up under the roof where it can cause leaks and shingles deterioration.
At the same time, high winds, hail and winter storms can tear off shingles or drive moisture beneath them, causing further damage.
If you’ve found leaks in your roof, you’ll need to repair them to help prevent a complete roof replacement.
The average cost to repair roof leaks on a 10 foot by 10 foot area of asphalt shingles is around $650.
The total costs range from $500 for simply replacing the shingles to $1,750 to repair and apply a sealant.
The costs to repair a tile roof are around $,1500 for damaged steel tiles.
The total costs for this type of repair range from $450 for repairing metal flashing to $8,000 if the underlayment needs replacing.
- Minimize the damage to the roof by tacking a tarp over the damaged area until it can get repaired.
- Remove ice dams as soon as possible to prevent water from backing up beneath the shingles and causing more damage.
- Remove the snow on the roof as soon as possible to prevent new ice dams from forming and causing future problems.
- Look into getting better attic insulation, as this will help to prevent ice dams in the future as well.
Ice dams can do damage not only to your roof, but to gutters as well.
That’s because the heavy ice building up on the edge can pull gutters away from the roofline.
At the same time, water freezing inside the gutters and downspouts themselves can lead to separations in some areas, which means that they’ll need to be replaced.
The costs of gutter repair range from new downspouts to a complete gutter replacement.
The average cost of installing new downspouts is $160, with a total range of $4 for a do-it-yourself job to $160 for a medium-size house.
The average cost of installing new gutter guards to help prevent damage is $200 for do-it-yourself on 200 feet, with a range up to $3,600 for 200 feet of luxury product installed.
The average cost of replacing your gutters is between $1,050 and $2,400 for 200 feet, with total costs ranging from $625 for a do-it-yourself job to $2,400 for professional installation. Money-saving tips
- You can help lower costs by cleaning the gutters before winter begins and removing ice dams in a timely way.
- PVC gutters and downspouts cost less than aluminum or copper, but you should choose what best fits your house’s aesthetic.
- Heating elements are available that can help melt ice in your gutters all winter long; you may want to invest in these while having repairs done to help prevent problems.
- Gutter screens are the easiest thing to install do-it-yourself, which can save installation costs in the future as well.
3. House exterior
Cold, snow and hailstones can also take a toll on the outside of a house.
This can result in peeling paint, which if left long enough, could mean that your siding can become susceptible to moisture infiltrating it, which in turn can lead to wood rot and future repairs.
Repainting your exterior in the spring can help prevent these problems.
The average cost to paint a home’s exterior is between $2,500 to $3,000 for a 1,500-square-foot home.
The total costs range from $500 for a do-it-yourself paint job to $4,000 for homes that have a lot of trim and woodwork to paint.
- Using multiple colors on your home can increase its aesthetic, but can also increase the total cost, as can having a lot of different architectural features or trim to paint.
- Do-it-yourself jobs can save a lot of money. Be sure to scrape the existing surfaces well, then apply a primer and two coats of paint to avoid having to repaint again soon.
- Aluminum siding and fiber cement can be painted to freshen up their colors and give a home a new look without replacing the siding.
If the paint has peeled enough on the siding of the house, moisture can begin to infiltrate, causing the wood to begin rotting.
In addition, hail stones or fallen tree limbs can damage siding, whether denting aluminum siding or cracking vinyl. Because the siding is a home’s first line of defense against the elements, it needs to be repaired in a timely way.
The average costs to repair siding range from $300 to $1,000, depending on the type of the siding being damaged, and the extent. Vinyl is the least expensive material to repair, as well as one of the easiest to do yourself, while aluminum is among the most expensive to repair with costs ranging from $500 to $900.
- The cost to hire a carpenter to repair siding is around $40 to $50 an hour. If you are able to repair it yourself, you can usually save a considerable amount of money.
- Both aluminum and vinyl are often replaced during repair jobs. Shop around to get a good color match so you don’t need to replace as large a section.
- Repairing wood siding almost always will require the new section to be painted as well. Painting it yourself can help save on labor costs.
A little known problem that can occur during the cold winter months is damage to a driveway.
Small cracks that develop naturally over time are the perfect place for water to collect. When that water freezes, it expands, causing what’s known as a frost heave. Frost heaves are responsible for large cracks, as well as potholes in your driveway, making just getting home a bumpy adventure.
Repaving your driveway can correct these issues and help prevent additional damage by eliminating those small cracks as well.
The average cost to pave a driveway in either gravel or asphalt ranges from $800 to $1,990 for a 38-foot by 16-foot driveway.
The total costs range from about $300 for a gravel do-it-yourself job to $14,880 for a driveway laid with brick pavers.
- If you have a lot of curves or grades in your driveway, this can increase costs.
- Sealing an existing driveway with tar can help prevent potholes and major cracks by filling up the smaller cracks before they have a chance to expand.
- Gravel is a less expensive way to fill a driveway, but the small stones frequently get scraped away by plows, allowing rainwater to form potholes. Therefore, paving a driveway with asphalt may be a longer term solution, saving money in the long run.
6. The foundation
The same freeze/thaw cycle that causes cracks and potholes in a driveway can also affect a foundation.
Hairline cracks in the concrete of a foundation that develop naturally over time because of a home settling can expand during the winter months, causing major structural issues if they aren’t taken care of in a timely way.
Getting a foundation repaired in the spring can help prevent more problems from developing as time goes by.
The average cost to repair a foundation that has been badly damaged ranges from $5,000 to $7,000.
Costs can be affected by the need for an inspection, how widespread the damage is and what types of repairs that may needed. Small cracks that only require sealing can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, while major cracks will require more extensive work.
- If you need extensive work done on the foundation, you may want to get at least three estimates from different repair companies to try to find the best pricing for the job.
- Remember that landscaping may be affected by foundation work. Nearby shrubs or plants may need to be replaced after the work has been done.
- Having a trench dug for a well pump at the same the foundation work is done can help prevent problems such as flooding.
- Always inspect the foundation each spring and seal any minor cracks you find to help prevent more extensive work.
Your home isn’t the only area that can sustain damage during a winter storm. Trees in your yard can also take a hit.
Heavy snow and high winds can knock down tree limbs, taking out power lines, damaging siding, and generally making your landscaping look a mess.
Getting your trees trimmed can help prevent this type of damage, as well as keep your trees healthy and looking great.
The average cost of tree trimming is around $591 per tree, assuming a total of five trees to be trimmed at once.
Costs range from about $227 per tree for a do-it-yourself job to $709 per tree for large trees during peak trimming seasons. All costs should include the equipment necessary to do the job and hauling away the cut limbs.
- If you have a large number of trees on your property, and are considering having some of them removed, you can sometimes get your trimming done for free by allowing the company to remove a certain number of trees for their own use.
- To ensure that the work is done properly, always hire a company that is registered with the Tree Care Industry Association. Do not allow workers on your property that wear spike-soled shoes, as these can damage the trees.
- Check with your utility company before hiring someone to do the job, as some companies will trim trees located near power lines at no cost to you.
Take care of your home
Winter damage can become worse over time if you don’t take care of it in a timely way. Always make sure to inspect your home in both the fall and in the spring to repair any damage that could affect your home’s condition. By taking care of minor issues before winter, you can help prevent larger ones, while taking care of any damage after the cold weather has passed can help your home be ready for anything.
Severe Spring Weather – Prepare with Red Cross Tips
Spring brings the threat of severe weather, which can mean heavy rain, flash flooding, damaging winds and tornadoes. The American Red Cross offers safety steps to follow if your area is affected.
FOLLOW THESE LIFESAVING SAFETY STEPS
TORNADOES Tornadoes can strike without warning and destroy a community in seconds. Before a tornado warning is issued for your area, here are some things you should do:
1. Know your community’s warning system.
2. Pick a place where family members can gather if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.
3. If you are in a high-rise building and don’t have enough time to go to the lowest floor, pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.
4. Remove diseased and damaged limbs from trees.
5. Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
THUNDERSTORM SAFETY STEPS Thunderstorms injure an average of 300 people every year, and cause about 80 fatalities. Here are the top thunderstorm safety steps you should follow:
1. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.
2. As the storm approaches, take shelter in a building.
3. If you are driving, pull off the roadway and park. Stay in the car with the windows closed and turn on the emergency flashers. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside of the vehicle.
4. If you are inside, unplug appliances and avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.
5. If you are caught outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground, water, tall, isolated trees and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are not safe.
FLOODING Heavy rains could fill rivers and streams, bringing flooding to the area. If your neighborhood is threatened with the possibility of flooding, here are some things you should do:
1. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
2. Stay away from floodwaters.
3. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
4. Keep children out of the water.
5. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
People should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of tornadoes, flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
blog credit: http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Follow-Red-Cross-Safety-Steps-If-Severe-Weather-Possible
photo credit: http://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/climate-weather/storms/science-of-storms.htm
How to protect your home from burglaries: Thieves tell all
Nicholas Kyriazis estimates he's burglarized at least 100 homes, maybe as many as 150. So who better to explain how to protect your home from burglaries?
TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen went inside the walls of New Jersey State Prison, where Kyriazis is serving a 70-year prison sentence, to get tips on how keep your home from being a target for people like him:
10 Things a Burglar Doesn't Want You to Know
- Have a neighbor collect your mail when you're away. Mail in the mailbox signals burglars that no one is home.
- Leave your car outside. "If there's no cars in the driveway, there's a good chance there is no one home," Kyriazis said.
- Thieves often strike in the morning. Kyriazis told Rossen he typically did burglaries between 8 a.m. and before 2 p.m. More than half of convicted burglars surveyed by WNBC in New York also said they target homes in the morning.
- Don't assume an alarm system will protect you. "Alarm system alerts me that the people are not home when the alarm is turned on," Kyriazis said.
- Don't assume home security cameras will protect you. "People got money for security cameras, they got something in there they're protecting."
- Have a neighbor watch your house. Kyriazis called neighborhood watch "one of the best things they ever started for burglary prevention."
- Lock up when you leave. Many people leave doors and windows unlocked, and thieves take advantage. "I've never carried burglary tools," Kyriazis said.
- Dogs can be a good deterrent. Kyriazis said a barking dog would give him pause.
- Never engage a burglar. Thieves and experts agree that if you come upon a burglary in progress, the best option is to leave, find a safe place and call 911 immediately
8 terrible places to be when lightning strikes
What’s the worst place to be during a lightning storm?
Standing in a wading pool at the top of the Burj Khalifa while holding a metal rod into the air would probably be the most correct answer to that question, but listed below are some more practical places to avoid when lightning strikes.
Under a tree
When a thunderstorm suddenly hits an open outdoor area, people naturally look for shelter. However welcoming a tall, isolated tree may seem during a downpour, it’s best to stay clear of it if you hear thunder.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, lightning will typically strike the tallest object in a given space, as it requires the shortest distance between a cloud and the object with a positive electrical charge. Trees are also likely to be struck by lightning because the water and sap inside some of them acts as a conductor.
On a sailboat
Cruise ships and well-equipped yachts are no picnic to be aboard during a lightning storm but with a lightning protection system installed, the electricity will mostly be diverted to the water. However, less sophisticated boats like sailboats and rowboats are dangerous to be aboard when a storm hits.
The NOAA warns that when a boat’s masthead is seen glowing red, it’s a sign of an extreme electrical buildup that can attract a lightning bolt in minutes. That phenomenon, called “St. Elmo’s Fire,” is a sign to get below deck or off the water immediately.
Inside, talking on a land-line phone
Being at home or inside a building when a thunderstorm hits is the best place to be but it doesn’t mean immunity from lightning strikes. Weather safety experts recommend staying away from plumbing, walls that may have electrical wires and the telephone when lightning is in the area.
According to the National Weather Service, talking on a land-line phone during a storm is one of the leading causes of lightning-related injuries in the U.S. Using a computer that's plugged into a power source can also lead to injuries.
On open farmland
Any open space is a bad place to be during a lightning storm but farmers seem to be especially susceptible to fatal strikes. Some of the most common activities victims are engaged in include herding livestock and baling hay, according to the NWS.
Outside, a few minutes after a storm passes
Many lightning-related injuries occur once the weather has cleared, as people step back outside. Bolts can strike miles away from a storm and for this reason, it’s recommended to wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before going back outside.
On a covered porch
Covered shelters are fine for protection against rain but they don’t protect against lightning strikes. The same goes for open garages or carports, where it’s safer to be inside a car with the windows up. Any shelter that isn’t fully enclosed, with a roof, walls and a floor, isn’t a safe place to be during a lightning storm.
In a tent
Campers have limited options when a lightning storm hits but staying inside a tent is one of the worst options. According to Environment Canada, “Lying on the ground in a tent during a lightning storm would maximize the chances of being hurt.” Experts recommend getting inside a hard-top car with the windows up in one of these situations.
On metal bleachers in central Florida
There’s a reason outdoor sporting events are quickly postponed at the first sign of lightning. Metal bleachers would obviously be a bad place to be during a storm but this goes especially for people in central Florida. The state sees more lightning strikes each year than anywhere else in the United States. In fact, an area from Tampa to Orlando has been dubbed “lightning alley.”
blog credit: http://www.newsnet5.com/news/national/the-worst-places-to-be-when-lightning-strikes
Rivers in the sky causing widespread chaos in California
Yes, there are rivers up in the sky, and they're responsible for up to 65% of the western USA's extreme rain and snow events — such as the storm that blasted Northern California on Monday — a new study finds.
Made visible by clouds, these ribbons of water vapor known as atmospheric rivers extend thousands of miles from the tropics to the western USA. They provide the fuel for the massive rainstorms and subsequent floods along the U.S. West Coast.
The study released Monday, which appeared in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature Geoscience, said it's not only the USA that sees these weather troublemakers: Globally, up to 75% of extreme precipitation events come from atmospheric rivers, said study lead author Duane Waliser, an atmospheric scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
In western Canada, northern Europe, New Zealand and southern South America, atmospheric rivers occur on 30 to 35 days per year, Waliser said.
Though beneficial for water supplies in the western USA, these events can wreak havoc on travel, bring deadly mudslides and cause catastrophic damage to life and property, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
One well-known nickname for an atmospheric river is the "Pineapple Express," which occurs when the source of the moisture is near Hawaii. A single strong atmospheric river can transport up to 15 times the water vapor compared with the average flow of water at the mouth of the Mississippi River, according to NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory.
This winter has been especially active for atmospheric rivers in the West, said meteorologist Jeff Zimmerman of the National Weather Service. As many as 10 separate rivers have been identified. On average, Northern California gets five to seven atmospheric rivers per wet season, the weather service said
The onslaught has knocked out the five-year drought in Northern California. Much of the Sierra Nevada saw its rainiest and snowiest October-February period on record, the weather service said.
In Europe, of the 19 windstorms that each did at least a billion U.S. dollars in damage from 1979 to 2003, 14 of those storms were due to damage from atmospheric rivers, Waliser said?.
blog credit: http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2017/02/20/atmospheric-rivers-california-storms-floods/98154504/
photo credit: http://rightweather.com/2012/09/severe-flash-flooding-in-fall-river-pictures/
Skier Goes Off 150-Foot Cliff, Survives Without a Scratch
A 25-year-old skier in Utah got the shock of his life when he accidentally went off a 150-foot cliff in a heart-stopping moment that was caught on his helmet cam.
The harrowing situation occurred last week as Devin Stratton was following another skier’s track on Utah's Mount Timpanogos when he suddenly went over the cliff.
His helmet cam shows the complete fall before he hits the snow-covered ground. Miraculously, he walked away unscathed.
"I didn’t know that it was there and then mid jump and realized, ‘Oh, I am going to be paralyzed,' he told InsideEdition.com. "I thought I was dead for sure. In my head I was praying, and when I landed and was still alive I was pretty stoked."
Stratton, who has been skiing since he was 14, is still in shock.
“I can’t believe it. I was more than lucky, it was definitely a miracle,” he said.
The student from Utah Valley University credited his survival to his sister, Rachel, who he says “died a little over a year ago of cancer,” and “was probably looking out for me.”
The fall lasted 3.08 seconds, the equivalent of falling off a 15-story building.
Stratton, who is also an avid climber, was with his buddy when the accident occurred.
“I first started yelling at my friend, Matt, to watch out because I felt that if he landed on me we would both die,” he recalled.
Stratton said his friend skied around the cliff and was shocked to see his friend alive.
The video, which was posted by his cousins, YouTube stars Brooklyn and Bailey, has gone viral.
Following the accident, Stratton went to the doctor, who at first questioned why he wanted an X-ray since nothing was broken and he was fine.
Stratton said he showed the video to the doctor, who then ordered the X-ray and showed the video to the nurses.
Stratton recalled that the doctor said, “I can’t believe you didn’t get hurt” and, “It is a miracle.”
Following the accident, he had this advice for fellow skiers: “Know where you are going and don’t trust people's tracks.”
blog credit: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/good-news/skier-goes-off-150-foot-cliff-survives-without-a-scratch-it-was-definitely-a-miracle/ar-AAmhPrd?li=BBnb7Kz
Preventing & Thawing Frozen Pipes
Being prepared and informed may help you to avoid the messy and often expensive issue of frozen pipes. The American Red Cross provides information and suggestions around how to prevent water pipes in the home from freezing, and how to thaw them if they do freeze.
Why Pipe Freezing is a Problem
Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the "strength" of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:
- Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
- Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
- Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
- Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
During Cold Weather, Take Preventative Action
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
- When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
To Thaw Frozen Pipes
- If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
- Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
- Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
It’s cold but I can’t bring my pets inside! What do I do!?!
Once adopted, pets become members of our families and should be treated as such. This often means letting them come in the house to be with the rest of the family safe from the elements, cars, insects and other perils. However, we understand that every family is dealing with a unique set of circumstances.
For some families (families who do indeed love, care for, and worry about their pets) it is simply not feasible to bring them in the house all the time or even at all. Maybe you have a child who has developed a spontaneous allergy, but you’re also committed to your pet and don’t want to give them up. Or maybe you’re renting a house and have a strict landlord who will allow pets in the yard but not in the house.
During the winter, these families go through an intense moral dilemma. Do they leave their pets outside and subject them to the harsh elements? Or do they bring them in and risk eviction from their homes or even a hospital visit if their child’s allergy is bad enough? Whatever your situation, we want to help you care for your pets.
When should I bring my pets in? How cold is too cold?
If it is possible for you to bring your pets inside when it’s absolutely necessary, a good rule of thumb to follow is, “If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them.” All dogs and cats need to be indoors when the temperature drops close to 32 degrees or below. At those temperatures, the risk of hypothermia and frostbite increase significantly. An animal’s fur coat is simply not enough to protect them from these frigid temperatures. Animals more vulnerable to the elements like puppies, kittens, shorthaired animals, and senior animals, need to be brought in when the thermostat drops to 40 degrees.
Look for a middle way.
The best possible solution for those who absolutely cannot bring their pets in is to find some sort of middle ground. Do you have a heated garage or tool shed ?? This way you can protect your pets from the elements, keep them warm, and protect your allergic child and/or your lease. You may also consider purchasing an outdoor rated heating pad. Many stores that sell pet supplies carry heated mats specifically for cats and dogs. You may also find a dog house heater created with cords already protected from chewing animals and automatic shut offs just for your pet.
Take special precautions.
If there is absolutely no way for you to bring your pets in at all, there are steps you can take to make sure they are safe in the winter weather. First and most importantly, you need to ensure that they have some type of shelter. You’ll need a dog house, preferably one that is insulated and will protect your pet from being blasted by the wind and soaked by the snow. Bigger is not better when it comes to dog houses. If your dog’s house is too big, it won’t retain your dog’s body heat and keep him warm. If your dog can stand up and turn around in his dog house but not much else, it’s the perfect size for him.
Your dog house needs to be several inches off the ground so snow and rain water do not leak inside. If you cannot find an insulated dog house, stuff yours with hay leaving just enough room for your dog to burrow inside. Do not insulate a dog house with blankets. If the blankets get wet and freeze, they will only make it worse on your dog. Also make sure to keep the doorway covered with plastic or some type of waterproof canvas to prevent a draft.
Cats also need shelter in the winter. They are just as susceptible to the cold as dogs. You can learn how to make a shelter for outdoor cats out of a simple plastic tote and hay by clicking this tutorial: How to Build a Feral Cat Shelter
Second, fatten them up. Increase the amount you feed your outdoor pets significantly in the winter months. Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food because they deplete much of their energy just trying to stay warm. Gaining a few extra pounds can help protect their insides from the cold weather. Also make sure your pets have fresh water to drink. Check your pet’s water as often as you can to ensure that it doesn’t freeze. Prevent your pet from knocking over their water by digging a small hole in the ground to place their water bucket in. Also, be sure you are using plastic water buckets and food dishes. In the cold, your pet’s tongue could stick to metal dishes.
Lastly, check on your pets often and look for signs for frostbite and hypothermia. Watch to see if your dog begins:
- Whining or acting anxious
- Can’t stop shivering
- Seems weak
- Has ice on his body
- Stops moving or slows down
- Looks for a warm place to burrow
Also, check your dog’s ears, nose, and paws as these are areas usually not protected by thick fur.
If you notice any of these signs, bring your pet to a warm spot and call your veterinarian immediately.