Friday, November 9, 2012

After the Storm

Hey everyone! The last two weeks have been crazy around here between Hurricane Sandy, the election, and a nor'easter storm that brought the Merrimack Valley it's first snow of the season. The weather seems to be getting more powerful as each year passes and while it most likely can be attributed to climate change; whatever the reason, it's clear we have to learn how to be more prepared for when the storm rolls in and figure out how to better deal with the aftermath.

Depending on the type of storm, there are various types of damage that can happen around your house. Here in New England, we usually face a few different types of storm including thunderstorms (with the occasional tornado thrown in), hurricanes, nor'easters (that bring snow and rain), and the occasional blizzard. All these weather events have the potential to cause significant damage to properties and even if the damage is minimal, most of the time a mess is left behind to clean up. Here's a few of the common situations (a couple of which the King and I have had to deal with personally):

1. Flooding - I'm sure most of you that are from the Merrimack Valley area remember the flooding we had back in 2006. Here's a picture that I took of Rt 113 in Lowell...crazy.
Anyways, with flooding there's a lot to consider:
 - Flood water is almost always contaminated with various things including sewerage and chemicals. Anything that comes in contact with the flood waters, especially food should be thrown out.
 - If your basement is flooded, more than likely you will have to dispose of all the items that came in contact with the flood waters, especially any carpets and drywall. 
 - All items that came in contact with the flood water that are washable should be cleaned and disinfected.
 - You should turn off the main breaker in your home until you're sure (consult with an electrician) that it can be safely turned back on.
Here is a great booklet from the Red Cross about repairing your home after a flood.
2. Tree Damage - Yes, that's our old shed with a tree puncturing the roof - thank goodness it fell on the shed and not the house.

When a tree falls in your yard, you'll definitely hear it (you know vs a tree falling in the woods when no one is around...anyways...) and when you walk outside to investigate, you'll probably be shocked. From the ground, when the tree in the picture above was still upright it didn't look too overwhelming but once it fell down we realized that it was going to be a heck of a lot of work to get rid of it - it took up almost our entire backyard it was so wide. Believe it or not, we tackled it ourselves but it took a very long time and several chainsaws. What was left afterwards were piles and piles of branches, brush, and large logs...some of the logs and larger branches got burned in our wood stove and the smaller brush got thrown into a composting area. The other alternative is to hire a professional tree removal guy. Either way you decide to clean up, having a tree come down in your yard is something that will require work and probably money to get things back to normal.

3. Snowstorms/Ice Storms - Remember the ice storm of 2008? The Queen sure does - I was pregnant with our first princess - 9 months pregnant to be exact!
Anyways, the picture below is from February 2011 when the snow kept falling and falling - as you can see it buried that mailbox (and had some help from the friendly snow plows)!

As we all know with snow and ice storms, power outages can be widespread from snow/ice accumulation on branches and power lines as well as strong winds that accompany nor'easters or blizzards. When the power goes out, the biggest concern afterwards is usually food safety. If it's winter and you don't have a generator, you can usually buy a little extra time with your perishables that you had in the fridge. Heck, if it's colder than 32 degrees outside, move all your "must be refrigerated" items outside into the snow (been there, done that!). If that's not an option and you keep everything in the refrigerator/freezer, then here are some good guidelines for your refrigerator and your freezer on what to keep. One last thing about ice/snowstorms...don't forget to lift with your knees when you shovel that walkway or driveway(or roof!) after the storm, a shovel full of heavy wet snow (vs the fluffy stuff) can weigh quite a bit depending on the water content.

Question: Were you affected by the recent storms or have a good storm story? Share it with us!

Last Words: This is just a brief overview of how to handle various situations that you may be faced with after a big storm hits. As always, I must let you know that Junk King can definitely help with the clean-up so don't hesitate to call the King and Queen!

Thanks for reading and stay safe!


  1. Great post! I live in eastern NY state, so we get a lot of the same weather you do. I remember the ice storm of 2008 all to well! We look back at it fondly now, but then, we weren't so fond of it. It was stunningly beautiful outside, though! I'll never forget that!

    1. Thanks for checking out my blog! Yes, during the ice storm I remember sitting in the dark near our woodstove trying to stay warm and wondering if I was going to go into labor! I'd be ok if we never had one of those again :)