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Planning for Blizzards

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Tags: Weather, Storms, Snow, Snow Storms, Blizzards, Hazardous Weather
1 review about Blizzards

Planning for a Blizzard

  • Dec 31, 2010
Blizzard Planning
By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

The famous blizzard of 1888 occurred from March 11th through the 14th.
Snow fell up to 3-4 feet in New York, New Jersey, Conn. and Massachusetts.
Huge drifts were reported and some covered entire houses.    1)

Drifts were reported to average 30-40 feet, over the tops of houses from
New York to New England , with reports of drifts covering 3-story houses.
Severe floods occurred throughout the New York City area and in Brooklyn
in particular. Roscoe Conkling (October 30, 1829 - April 18, 1888) was a
New York politician who served both as a member of the United States
House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.He helped draft the
14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. He died after falling ill from
walking in the NYC blizzard.          2)

The blizzard of December 26, 2010 paralyzed NYC . Every major train line
experienced delays and some did not run trains in both directions.
Ambulances were stranded in the streets and some motorists had to
abandon their cars. Blood donors were snowed
in and thereby prevented from donating blood throughout NYC.

A blizzard by its very nature is chaotic. The best that can be done
is to limit the disruption through advanced planning, historical research and the
cooperation of the public.

Here is what to do if stranded in a blizzard.

Before you commence any winter trip,  verify the travel conditions from the start
of your trip to the destination . Do not travel on closed roads or highways .
If you get caught in a blizzard, stay in the car. Disorientation or hypothermia may
happen right away in blowing and drifting snow.  The best advice is to stay inside
your vehicle to provide the optimal shelter. While safe inside the vehicle,
you can do the following:

o utilize the cell phone to report your position to emergency personnel
o place a colored flag on your antenna      i.e.  red, orange or other bright color
o turn on emergency lights or flashers
o maintain and utilize a car kit to stay warm
o maintain a working flashlight and lock de-icer
o wear warm clothing and/or keep a blanket in the car
o stay in the vehicle until help arrives
o light a candle to help keep warm
o run the vehicle on the hour to keep the interior warm
o clean snow from the exhaust pipe to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning
o move your arms and legs to enhance circulation
o stay alert and if more than one person is present- alternate sleeping periods

There are steps you can take to winterize your car. i.e.
Make certain that the anti-freeze is kept at a proper level.  Keep a spare
container of anti-freeze in case the car overheats temporarily.

Maintain an empty gas container in the event you run out of gas.
Make certain that the battery is in proper order and replace it
prior to the winter season, if necessary.  Do not use a battery
past the guarantee period of the manufacturer. 

In addition, install new battery connections at the commencement of
the winter season. Battery cables are prone to oxidizing
due to accumulated moisture. In addition, have the auto mechanic
check the connections to the starter and alternator prior to the
winter season. In addition, utilize winter-grade tires.
Always keep a complete toolkit available, as well as a spare tire.

Municipalities can utilize a Contingency Plan and Disaster Recovery Plan
to trigger teams of specialists to act in unison before losing too much time
in an emergency.  A Contingency Plan specifies key personnel and
equipment which needs to be put into use when certain predefined
events have occurred. One of the many things to consider are temporary
curfews until storm conditions subside.  A curfew will limit the number
of people and cars on the streets until the Contingency Plan can be
put into place.

Special SNOW EMERGENCY ROUTES can be designated so that crews
can concentrate their efforts on major mass transit and hospitals initially.
The objective is to give residents in all municipal neighborhoods access to
vital services as quickly as possible.

There are computer algorithms in operations research which can help
allocate equipment and personnel optimally under emergency conditions.
Queuing/Waiting Line algorithms may be employed to assign personnel
and equipment given limited resources and emergency condition
constraints. Assignment algorithms may be utilized to compute the
shortest route to an emergency.  Linear programming may be utilized
to allocate resources optimally and at a minimum cost.

Advice Giving algorithms in artificial intelligence may be utilized to
accumulate the experience of vital emergency staff . The
Knowledge Engineer polls the various municipal experts and
updates the Knowledge Base accordingly.

1) http://www.nycsubway.org/articles/1888-blizzard.html
2) http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=c000681


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December 31, 2010
Very helpful review, especially in this crazy weather! They also have special anti-freeze for the winter which is important to put in your car during the snow months. Thanks for sharing :)
December 31, 2010
I'm glad that you enjoyed the review. Joseph/Dr. Joseph S. Maresca
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