By Alice Kenny
Not again. If weather forecasts are right we may be in for the worst storm of the winter today – and that’s saying something. Predictions include up to a foot of snow in parts of the Archdiocese. Gusty winds combined with ice and snow could tear down electrical wires and trigger power outages. New York City, meanwhile, is preparing to once again be sandwiched by the new winter special – snow/sleet/freezing rain – with a snow season total of four feet expected by the end of the day.
Who’s the joker who named this storm, anyway? This deadly winter mix that began barreling through the south on Tuesday has already caused at least five weather-related traffic deaths according to a recent Reuters report.
So New Yorkers beware. Catholic Charities, working with the Office of Emergency Management, is here to help.
New York City’s Office of Emergency Management offers multiple tips for staying warm and safe, from what to do if you lose heat to what to do if you get stuck on the road and are afraid you are developing frostbite.*
If you need help, please call the phone numbers below right away:
If you or someone else is in danger, fell through cracking ice, suspect carbon monoxide poisoning or see a homeless person cold, alone and on the streets:
- Call 911
If you lose heat or have frozen pipes:
- Call 311
If you lose power, call your power provider:
- Con Edison 24-hour hotline: 1-800-75-CONED (752-6633)
- National Grid 24-hour hotline: 1-718-643-4050
- Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) 24-hour hotline: 1-800-490-0025
Learn more about power disruptions
If You Must Drive a Vehicle
Whenever possible, avoid driving in a winter storm. If you must go out, it is safer to take public transportation. However, if you must drive or get caught in a storm, heed the following tips:
- Avoid traveling alone, but if you do so, let someone know your destination, route and when you expect to arrive.
- Dress warmly. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in layers.
- Listen to the radio or call the state highway patrol for the latest road conditions.
- Use major streets or highways for travel whenever possible; these roadways will be cleared first.
- Drive slowly. Posted speed limits are for ideal weather conditions. Vehicles take longer to stop on snow and ice than on dry pavement.
- Four-wheel drive vehicles may make it easier to drive on snow-covered roads, but they do not stop quicker than other vehicles.
- If you skid, steer in the direction you want the car to go and straighten the wheel when the car moves in the desired direction.
- Know your vehicle’s braking system. Vehicles with antilock brakes require a different braking technique than vehicles without antilock brakes in icy or snowy conditions.
- Try to keep your vehicle’s gas tank as full as possible.
IF YOU GET STUCK ON THE ROAD:
- Stay with your car. Do not try to walk to safety unless help is visible within 100 yards. You could become disoriented in blowing snow.
- Display a trouble sign if you need help; tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna and raise the hood to alert rescuers.
- Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Leave the overhead light on when the car is running so you can be seen.
- Move your arms and legs to keep blood circulating and to stay warm.
- Keep one window slightly open to let in fresh air. Use a window that is opposite the direction the wind is blowing.
*Click here for more safety tips from NYC Office of Emergency Management.
Do you need help?
Call the Catholic Charities Help Line: 888-744-7900, or email us through our contact form.