While the fall foliage has yet to appear in parts of the U.S., western states had their first taste of winter just a week after summer’s official end, with a storm that dumped up to 3 feet of snow in some areas and brought record-low temperatures, strong winds, and blizzard conditions.
Although weather forecasts are never 100% accurate, this may be the beginning of a freezing winter for two-thirds of the country, according to the 2020 Farmers’ Almanac’s winter forecast, which calls for a “polar coaster” of cold conditions from the eastern part of the Rockies all the way to the Appalachians.
“The biggest drop—with the most freefalling, frigid temperatures—is forecasted to take hold from the northern Plains into the Great Lakes. The Northeast, including the densely populated corridor running from Washington to Boston, will experience colder-than-normal temperatures for much of the upcoming winter,” reads the forecast, which predicts that the coldest outbreak of the season will come during the final week of January and last until the beginning of February.
Snow lovers might be shivering with anticipation, but it’s important that community associations encourage residents to winterize their homes before the brunt of the season hits. Here are some items to consider.
- Examine doors and replace weather-stripping as needed
- Inspect window caulking and reseal where needed
- Check vents and repair where needed
- Clean chimneys and flues
- Remove items near heat vents
- Place nonskid runners or door mats outside to help keep water, sand, and salt out
- Cut tree branches and shrubs that hide signs or block light
- Examine outdoor handrails and tighten if needed
- Turn off electrical breakers for outdoor equipment
- Close hose bibs
- Clean out gutters and downspouts
- Clear yard drains
- Spray outdoor locks and hinges with lubricant
- Stake driveway and walkway edges that may be difficult to find under deep snow
Don’t forget to stock up on supplies such as ice melt, sand, generator fuel, and snow shovels. Ready.gov also has tips on how to stay safe during a winter storm.