Staying Safe in an Ice Storm
Ice storms happen frequently in many colder geographic regions while occasionally occurring in warmer climates. If you have never experienced an ice storm, then understanding what will happen is necessary. People living in colder regions will have more ice storms to deal with during the wintertime than blizzards. This type of storm is caused by rain freezing as it falls or touches the ground creating a layer of dangerous ice that is difficult to drive or walk on. An ice layer from freezing rain is often so thick and heavy that it damages structures, trees or power lines.
Safety Tips in an Ice Storm
Traveling during or after an ice storm is extremely dangerous and life threatening. Law officials often warn you not to drive a vehicle unless it is an emergency. Remaining inside a warm shelter is the safest place to avoid injury from falling on slippery ice. Weather forecasters will alert you about an impending ice storm, allowing you to prepare before it arrives. You should have enough food and medications for everyone in a home to last for several days or longer. Having canned goods and a manual can opener available is a good plan in case you lose electrical power.
Dangers of Ice Storms
One of the most dangerous things you can do in an ice storm is drive because it is nearly impossible to avoid a collision. While you might know how to drive slowly to avoid a sliding incident, other drivers will continue to travel at the same speed. If you are in a vehicle when an ice storm begins, it is safer to park off a road than continuing to a destination. Walking is also dangerous for people due to sliding vehicles or falling on sidewalks.
Worst Ice Storms on Record
Many regions have had severe ice storms that caused major problems for residents. In February 2014, a far-reaching ice storm caused problems for individuals living in the United States along the eastern and southern coasts. I think this storm was particularly difficult because people living in Alabama, Georgia or Texas rarely experience cold temperatures that cause icy conditions. States including Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky commonly receive ice storms, so they were more prepared in January 2009 when approximately 500,000 homes did not have electricity for several days.
Stay Inside During a Storm
If you know a raging ice storm will leave you stuck inside a home, prepare by having some ice storm-themed entertainment at hand. A great movie for adults to watch is The Ice Storm featuring Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline. Here the storm serves as an allegory for the characters’ inner turmoil and icy facades that melt away when a particularly bad ice storm hits in the 1970’s. Alternatively, if heavy family dramas aren’t your thing you can always listen to Vanilla Ice sing his classic “Ice Ice Baby” while dancing around the house to stay warm. The choice is yours.