Winter storm weakening, moving out of WMass

Winter Storm Warning issued for all counties

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Conditions are improving in western Massachusetts, as a major winter storm continues to subside. A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for all of western Massachusetts through 8:00 P.M. Tuesday, however.

22News Storm Team Meteorologist Nick Bannin says that winds have gusted over 30 miles per hour in western Massachusetts overnight.

This afternoon steady snow will turn to snow showers and gradual improvements into tonight. Most of us should receive 8-14″ of snow in the lower Pioneer Valley with less to the north and west and more in eastern parts of Hampden County and eastern Hampshire County.

Monday afternoon, Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency and announced a statewide travel ban for all non-emergency vehicles starting at midnight. He has since lifted that ban for Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire Counties, though it remains in effect for the rest of the state.

Make sure to follow the 22News Storm Team for the latest weather updates, and send us your weather photos to our Report-it feature.

Interactive Radar
Interactive Radar
Live Radar
Live Radar
Snowfall Map
Snowfall Map
National
National
Northeast
Northeast
Midwest
Midwest
Northwest
Northwest
Southeast
Southeast
Southwest
Southwest

MEMA’s tips for staying safe during the storm:

  • Stay indoors during the storm if possible. The strong wind and low temperatures will cause a very dangerous ‘wind chill’.
  • If you do go outside, protect yourself by dressing for the season, wearing several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing, rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Mittens are better than gloves. Wear a hat, as most body heat is lost through the top of the head. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
  • Clear exhaust vents from Direct Vent Gas Furnace Systems to avoid Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning. Also, never run an automobile until the exhaust pipe has been cleared of snow.
  • If you lose your heat, seal off unused rooms by stuffing towels in the cracks under the doors. At night, cover windows with extra blankets or sheets. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.
  • If pipes freeze, remove insulation, completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they are most exposed to the cold. A hand-held hair dryer, used with caution, also works well.
  • Be careful when shoveling snow. Over-exertion can bring on a heart attack – a major cause of death in the winter.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite: loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in the extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms are detected, get medical help, as soon as possible.
  • Call 2-1-1 for non-emergency storm-related questions.
  • Be a good neighbor. Check with elderly or relatives and neighbors who may need additional assistance to ensure their safety.
  • When the driving ban gets lifted, drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.

MEMA’s tips for preparing for the storm:

  • Ensure your Emergency Kit is stocked with supplies to enable you to survive on your own for at least three to five days. There should be a first-aid kit, essential prescription medicines, non-perishable foods (those that require no refrigeration such as canned goods, dried fruits and nuts), a manual can opener, water (one gallon per person, per day), flashlights and extra batteries along with a portable radio or NOAA Weather Radio, baby-care or pet supplies items, extra blankets, sleeping bags and a fire extinguisher.
  • Ensure that your Winter Emergency Car Kit is well stocked to keep you and your vehicle safe.
  • This storm has the potential to bring widespread power outages, so take the opportunity to fully charge your cell phone, laptop, and any other devices in advance of a power outage.
  • Those along the coast should be aware of potential flooding. Pay close attention to directives from you local public safety officials.
  • Keep extra batteries for your phone in a safe place or purchase a solar-powered or hand crank charger. These chargers are good emergency tools to keep your laptop and other small electronics working in the event of a power outage. If you own a car, purchase a car phone charger because you can charge your phone if you lose power at your home.
  • Gas up you automobiles because many local filling stations may also lose their ability to pump gas.
  • Download the free Massachusetts Alerts app to your smartphone to receive important weather alerts and messages from MEMA. Easy instructions are available at mass.gov/mema/mobileapp.
  • Trim dead tree branches and limbs close to your home. Ice, snow and wind can combine to snap limbs that can take down power lines or damage your home.
  • Clean gutters. Melting snow and ice can build up if gutters are clogged with debris. When thawing begins, the water can back up under your roof and eaves causing damage to walls and ceilings.
  • Check your homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure adequate coverage.
  • Ensure that your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors are working correctly and have fresh batteries. Check your outside fuel exhaust vents, making sure that they are not obstructed by snow or ice. Never use cooking equipment intended for outside use indoors as a heat source or cooking device
  • Have sufficient heating fuel, as regular sources may be cut off. Have the option of emergency heating equipment and fuel (a gas fireplace, wood burning stove or fireplace) so you can safely keep at least one room livable. Be sure the room is well ventilated.
  • To keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of newspapers, covering the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture. Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing.
  • Know how to safely shut off gas, electric power and water valves.
  • If you use medical equipment in your home that requires electricity, talk to your health care provider about how you can prepare for its use during a power outage. Ensure you have extra batteries for medical equipment and assistive devices.
  • If you have life-support devices that depend on electricity, contact your local electric company about your power needs for life-support devices (home dialysis, suction, breathing machines, etc.) in advance of an emergency. Some utility companies will put you on a “priority reconnection service” list. Talk to your equipment suppliers about your power options and also let the fire department know that you are dependent on life-support devices.
  • Find out about individual assistance that may be available in your community if you need it. Register in advance with the local emergency management agency, the local fire department, other government agencies or non-profit groups. Tell them of your individual needs or those of a family member and find out what assistance, help or services can be provided.
  • If you use in-home support services, Meals-on-Wheels, Life Alert or other support services, work with them to personalize emergency preparedness plans to meet your needs so you can keep in touch with them during and after an emergency. That contact may be your lifeline to other services in a disaster.
  • If you have or may have transportation needs, work with local transportation providers and/or disability services (e.g., Paratransit, Independent Living Centers) to plan ahead for accessible transportation.
  • Develop back-up plans for personal assistance services, hospice or other forms of in-home assistance.
  • Be a good neighbor. Check in on friends, family, and neighbors, particularly those most susceptible to extreme temperatures and power outages such as seniors and those with access and functional needs.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s