Whether you got two inches or two feet of snow, there are always issues to deal with after a winter storm – especially if you lose power. Below are a few tips for how to dig out quickly, clean up effectively, and stay safe and warm. 

Get a head start on clearing snow
If it’s warm enough and safe to go outside, you may want to clear the snow around your home and vehicles right away. That’s because fresh snow is lighter and easier to shovel or snow-blow than snow that’s had time to settle and get packed down.

Clean off the roof
After a winter storm, an ice dam can form, which means any ice on your roof prevents the melting snow from draining off. The water that backs up behind the dam can then leak into your home. To prevent damage, clear the snow off the roof of your house, garage, and any sheds, or hire a professional to do it for you.

Look for damage to trees
Inspect the trees in your yard to ensure heavy snow hasn’t broken or cracked limbs that could fall and harm your home or someone walking below. If you find damaged trees, contact a professional to trim them properly.          

Make sure smoke, and carbon monoxide detectors are working
This is especially important if you don’t have power and need to heat your home using a fireplace, space heater, or generator. Check the batteries in the detectors and change them if they’re not working well. Also, be sure that external vents are clear. 

Check the inside of your home
Cracked or leaking ceilings can mean that your roof is damaged. Water flow problems could mean you have frozen pipes.  Inspect the inside of your home to ensure everything is in good working order. If you suspect frozen pipes, shut off the water supply, and call a plumber to make repairs.

Don't forget about pets
Some pets may be restless to get back outside after needing to stay inside due to storm conditions. However, watch out for any potential hazards that could cause harm, such as icicles, downed power lines, or ice patches. Also, be sure to clean their paws after coming inside so that they don't lick any snow-melting salt and potentially get sick.

Stay warm
If you are without power and don’t have a generator to run your home’s heating system, you can still stay warm by layering clothes, using hand warmers, and closing off rooms you’re not using. By huddling together in one room, you trap body heat generated by everyone. Try to pick a room on the south side of your home, so it gets sun during the day. You can also use towels to block drafts under doors and around window sills and drink hot liquids such as hot coffee, cocoa, or tea.

Avoid driving right away
Follow local officials' guidance on whether it is safe to drive.  If you must get out, stick to plowed, sanded, or salted roads, and watch for black ice.

Safety is most important during these difficult winter storms.