Weather Alert – 3/26/2021

Weather Briefing for today 3/26/2021…There is just a slight chance for a passing shower or thunderstorm between about 11am and 2pm. Most of the showers and storms will probably occur off to the north of the local area. Winds will increase this afternoon and this evening with frequent gusts to 35-40 mph and peak gusts to 45-50 mph possible. The most favored time for the strongest gusts looks to be from about 1pm to 8pm. Winds will diminish later this evening and overnight. Dry weather is expected tonight and Saturday

What to Do During an Outage

As soon as the lights go out, there are a few steps you should take.

Find out what’s going on. Is the power outage affecting your neighbors, your neighborhood, or just you? Figuring out how widespread it is can help you appraise the severity. You should also report the outage to your power company to make sure they’re aware.

Turn the battery-powered radio on that you have in your emergency kit, or track severe weather on social media. Both can help you figure out what is happening and when you can expect the lights back on.

Unplug your appliances. When the power comes back on, the initial surge can damage your appliances, especially if they’re not plugged into a surge protector. Electronics, such as TVs and computers, are particularly sensitive. To prevent damage, unplug everything as soon as the power goes out.

Check your water. When the power goes out, water treatment centers might not be able to effectively purify your water. Contact them to find out, or keep your ears open for any boil alerts. If you have water stocked up, though, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Conserve your phone’s battery. Your phone is your lifeline to the outside world. A power outage is not the time to waste battery life playing games like Candy Crush Saga or browsing the web. Unless you have a battery charger on hand, don’t use your phone carelessly.

Stay Warm (Or cool). A power outage will most likely interrupt your home’s heating and cooling if you don’t have a backup generator. If it’s cold, dress in layers and use extra blankets. If it’s dangerously hot, either run a battery-powered fan or drive somewhere cool, like a library.


Generator Safety Tips

Never run a generator in an enclosed space or indoors. Most generator-related injuries and deaths involve CO poisoning from generators used indoors or in partially enclosed spaces. That includes the basement or garage, spaces that can capture deadly levels of carbon monoxide. Always place the generator at least 20 feet from the house with the engine exhaust directed away from windows and doors.

How to Run a Generator Safely

And if you’re using a generator to keep the lights on during a cleanup effort, “use a working, battery-operated carbon monoxide detector at the same time,” says Ken Boyce, principal designated engineer manager at UL. A carbon monoxide alarm provides one more layer of defense against making an innocent but potentially deadly mistake.

Don’t run a portable generator in the rain. You can buy tents for generators—that keep them shielded but still well-ventilated—online and at home centers and hardware stores.

Before refueling, turn off a gas-powered generator and let it cool. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts can ignite. Allowing the engine to cool also reduces the risks of burns while refueling.

Stock up on extra gasoline and store it properly. When you think you’ll need to use the generator for an extended time, you’ll want extra fuel on hand. Just be sure to store gas only in an ANSI-approved container in a cool, well-ventilated place. Adding stabilizer to the gas in the can will help it last longer, but don’t store gasoline near any potential sources of heat or fire, or inside the house.

Buy a generator with built-in CO safety technology. Many new generators have a device that detects dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and turns off the machine when levels climb too high. CR tests for this safety feature and now recommends only generators with this potentially life-saving technology.

Install a transfer switch before the next storm. This critical connection will cost from $500 to $900 with labor for a 5,000-rated-watt or larger generator. A transfer switch connects the generator to your circuit panel and lets you power hardwired appliances while avoiding the glaring safety risk of using extension cords. Most transfer switches also help you avoid overload by displaying wattage usage levels.

Don’t attempt to backfeed your house. Backfeeding means trying to power your home’s wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet. This reckless and dangerous practice presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices, so you could end up frying some of your electronics or starting an electrical fire.