Always try to stay indoors whenever you are faced with a snow storm. Photo By: Scott Robinson via Flickr, CC BY 2.0
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Winter Safety: What to Do During a Snowstorm

Coloradans love snow and the promise of winter activities that it brings. But winter storms can also have a dark side. Case in point: The massive blizzard that hit the Mile High City and the Front Range in March 2003.

According to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA), that storm was the most expensive in Colorado history, with resulting insurance claims totaling upwards of $93.3 million.

Of course, you’ve likely already taken steps to prepare your home for winter weather. But, what do you do when the storm actually arrives?Here’s some information culled from the RMIIA and Ready Colorado for guidance.

  • Stay indoors during the storm, if possible.
  • Bring all pets indoors, Ready Colorado says. Make sure horses and other livestock are in a sheltered location with access to food and water.
  • Keep your home warm so the pipes don’t freeze and burst. Ideally, you should maintain a minimum of 65 degrees, says RMIIA.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to let the air circulate around plumbing and prevent a freeze, Ready Colorado says.
  • Let your faucets drip a little to help prevent freezing, says Ready.gov. (Make sure you know how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.)
  • Temporarily close off unused rooms to conserve heat if you are relying on emergency backup heat sources, says Ready.gov.
  • Keep an eye on street drains. Let local officials know immediately if they are plugged up, as clogs can cause sewer backups.

If you are dressed appropriately and can do it safely, you may try to periodically clear snow off any outdoor decks to prevent collapses. Do not, however, attempt to clear off your roof; it’s simply not worth the risk.

RMIIA suggests that, once the storm has passed, check snow accumulation on the downwind side of higher-level roofs (where blowing snow typically collects), and consult a professional contractor who can remove the ice and snow safely, and without damaging your roof.


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