Surviving Power Outages During a Storm

A stormy season of power outages

Intense Storms

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Spring and summer bring intense storm systems—and a season of power outages. How do you prepare—and keep your home safe? 

Thunderstorms form as cooler air from Canada clashes with warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. A frontal boundary divides the two air masses and acts as a focal point for thunderstorms. With the right ingredients, some storms become severe.

From 2016 through spring 2017, weather has been more extreme than usual, with swings in low and high temperatures and record flooding. In fact, we have had what you might call a record number of weather records!

Here at Almanac HQ in Dublin, New Hampshire, we are certainly used to wintry weather and ice storms, but it is the intense spring and summer storms that are creating a weather battleground for most of North America.

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Have you had power outages? Here are a few quick tips to prepare for spring and summer storms:

  1. Do you know where your electric panel is? Do you know how to reset circuit breakers after an outage? If the power goes out, also turn off any major appliances (TVs, microwaves) to avoid overloading the power system when it returns. Consider adding surge protectors. Leave one light switch on.
  2. Everyone should have a disaster kit to be prepared for the worst storms. Include a flashlight, fresh batteries, cash, water and canned food. Make sure your first aid kit and all your medications are current. You should also have a list of emergency phone numbers. See our suggestions on what to keep in an emergency supply kit.
  3. Keep your cell phones and battery-operated devices charged up if a storm is forecasted. Have alternative charging methods for phones ready if the power goes out. Sign up for FEMA text messages (text PREPARE to 4FEMA).
  4. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed during a blackout to avoid spoiled food.
  5. Have a backup generator for your home, especially if you’re older. Many of us New Hampshire folks have a standby generator that automatically turns on during a blackout. The generator keeps the lights on, food and medicine from spoiling, the heat or A/C running, and medical devices operating.
  6. Avoid going outside during a power outage. You often risk falling trees and dangerous downed power lines that may have live electricity running through them. All it takes is a tree branch on a power line to knock out utility services. Again, having a backup generator on hand is a good idea to ride out the storm.

See more tips on surviving a power outage.

A note about generators: Only use generators away from your home and never run a generator inside a home or garage, or connect it to your electrical systems. If you are considering purchasing a generator for your home, consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing.

Let us know how you prepare for power outages. Do you have a home generator? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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