n the Midwest there is always the temptation to think in mid-January we may have gotten away without a proper snow-dump that keeps us indoors for 48 hours. Unlike the East Coast, we can get complacent here. Naturally, those thoughts usually precede snowmageddon! I myself remember waving my husband off on a business trip at the end of March only to be trapped in my house 2 days later in April.
So here are pointers to get you ready for a possible snowpocalypse. Special thanks to my landscaper Ramon. Who needs Google when you have Ramon!
1) Be prepared. Obviously, you can’t clear a driveway with a broomstick and some Morton’s. Better buy shovels and salt before the snow falls. Don’t forget pet-friendly varieties of salt for precious pooches paws. Even more pertinent, those with machines had better test them now and get them serviced. There are few people more righteously contemptuous than the owners of the repair shops in full-blizzard. Also, if you own a Pisten Bully – better check the brakes. Ask Mr Renner!
2) Consider Mechanization. Do you really still want to shovel? It is easily the surest way to end up in the ER or at very least the chiropractor. Or like my husband: both. Wet snow kills many a middle-aged man through sheer exertion. People that do not want to deal with fumes and noise have other options now. Thanks to California outlawing gas powered lawn equipment there are now a lot of great battery options for snowblowers as well. You can get anything from small handheld blowers to man-sized, serious machines that run on batteries – the tech has come a long way. Check it out. Of course, noise and smoke are still an option for those that like it.
3) Get scientific. If you find yourself looking at a foot of snow it helps to have a decent shovel. Choose a shovel that suits your height to get optimal leverage and remember to bend your knees when you scoop and toss the snow while engaging your core to avoid back pain. Basically don’t shovel like Mr Bean whose has had a few drinks. You can also bling-up your snow shovel too.
4) What’s a roof rake? I have to thank my roofing contractor for this morsel of advice. In serious snow conditions it is important to use a roof rake to remove up to four feet of snow from the edge of the roof and prevent icicle formation. The weight of a foot or more of snow on your room could become a problem, especially during the thaw and freeze cycle that could last for weeks after a snowstorm. During that cycle, ice can back up and get under your shingles and destroy your interior. If you rake your roof around the edges, you’re giving the snow room to slide down and thin out when it does thaw.
5) Don’t make the news by being impaled by a roof icicle. Better whack them before they grow to a monstrous size.
6) Watch for the steps and stoops. If you have dry outdoor steps and staircases, you can prep them before the next snowstorm hits. Anti-slip safety tape, from 3M or Gorilla, works great and sticks to most surfaces. Consider a lick of anti-slip porch paint.
7) Use salt wisely. Don’t be spreading like Salt Bae. Or send me pics if you do. You really have to do a proper snow clean-up before throwing the salt down. Ice melting products only work on icy surfaces (driveways, sidewalks) after the snow layer is removed first. Got a monster driveway? Check out salt spreaders.
8) Just forget 1-7 and call a snow removal service. Don’t forget to kidnap their firstborn on the eve of the storm though.