Cold is Coming to Charlotte. Winterize Your Life.
Remember last winter, Charlotte? We know – you’d rather not. It was snowy. It was frigid. It was an unpleasant surprise to everyone from meteorologists to homeowners, who dealt with the kind of cold weather maladies usually reserved for places far north of North Carolina.
Winter is approaching again, and although it likely will not be as severe as the last one, meteorologists say that the Carolinas will experience more snow and ice than normal. Accu-Weather and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued long-range winter forecasts this week, with each saying the Southeast will be colder and wetter than usual. Accu-Weather long-ranger forecaster Paul Pastelok said much of the Southeast, including the Carolinas, could be facing ice events throughout the season. At the least, he expects a lot of precipitation. “These are big storms that are going to form and put down a lot of rain,” he said.
The good news? There’s plenty of time to prepare indoors and outdoors for the severe season ahead. Here’s how to start:
Be an inspector
The first step to getting your home ready for winter is to use your eyes.
Inspect doors and windows for crevices and entry points for cold air and moisture. Inspect the roof, gutters and downspouts for holes and blockages. Check your foundation and seal up entry points and cracks to keep out pests and rodents looking for warmth.
Also, check your furnace to see if it needs new filters, and see if your fireplace damper needs sweeping. An HVAC technician can make sure the fireplace and chimney are clean and ready for burning wood. Here are more tips on winterizing around your home, including your outdoor furniture.
Down with drips
Some Charlotteans learned this the hard way last winter: Water that remains in pipes and hoses can freeze and expand in cold weather, damaging and bursting equipment exposed to the weather.
Protect against that frozen mayhem by turning off water spigots and valves that lead to irrigation systems. Remove hoses from spigots and drain the water from them. (A tip: looping a hose in a circle helps keep it unkinked and pushes leftover water out.) To play it safe, keep those hoses indoors, if possible.
Don’t forget the wheels
Snow, ice and cold can also affect your vehicle, and in turn your safety. Before the cold arrives, schedule an appointment with your auto service professional to check on your heating system, brake fluid levels and battery.
Also, check your tires to make sure the tread is sufficient for the wet weather that’s in the forecast. Your windshield wiper blades should be free of splitting and peeling, and your washer fluid should be full.
And just in case you find yourself stranded on the side of the road, be ready with an emergency kit that includes a working flashlight, blankets, rain poncho, a first-aid kit, some snacks and water.
An emergency kit that includes flashlights and batteries is a good idea at home, too. As Charlotte learned a year ago, you never know what winter will bring.