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You've probably heard the saying, "If you don't like the weather in New England, just wait a minute, it will change." Indeed, New England is known for unpredictable weather, and the extreme changes in temperatures bring their own risks to buildings, the roads, and your overall safety. Swinging back and forth between warm weather and our more typical, frozen winter means snow and ice melt and refreeze. What do you need to be aware of and how can you stay safe?

Property risks

Flooding from melting snow-When the temperatures rise and all of the snow on your roof and in your yard melts, where does it go? Well, if it enters your house through a leaky roof or a flooded basement, the reality is that your standard homeowners policy will likely not cover this damage. Why? Damage caused by the storm itself would be covered, but you need flood insurance for this type of issue. This is why it's a good idea to review your policy and call our office if you have questions or have trouble understanding your policy. The same holds true for those renting. If your property is damaged because of a winter flood, this will not typically be covered.

Ice dams on roofs- warm attics cause the roof of the building to heat up, melting snow and ice which then run towards the ground. The trouble happens when that running water cools and refreezes on the edge of the building, causing an ice dam. Additional water is unable to fall to the ground, so it backs up, damaging your home or business.

Ice jams in local waterways-when large chunks of ice pile up and/or become jammed, they prevent water from passing, which can lead to localized flooding. Recent thaws or an increase in the water level due to heavy rains can both cause ice jams and localized flooding.

What you can do

Contact our office today to discuss flood insurance and decide if it is right for you. Review your limits and make sure you're properly covered. We're more than happy to answer any questions and review your policy with you.

Clean your gutters and inspect them regularly to prevent ice dams. Do not use rock salt to melt an existing ice dam, as it can cause serious damage. Instead, chip away carefully with a blunt object or use a calcium chloride ice melter. If you can safely remove snow from your roof without getting on a ladder or hurting yourself, this may also be an option. Read more about preventing an ice dam from Foremost.

Road and auto risks

Multiple causes of ice-There are so many ways a roads can become icy and dangerous and the temperatures posted from your local weatherperson may not be accurate. Why? These temperatures are often taken well off the ground where the air can be much warmer. Don't assume that just because the report is 37 degrees Fahrenheit that ice hasn't formed on the roads. 

Increased temperatures and snow melt can lead to local streams and waterways rushing with water. Roadways can become wet and, as temperatures drop, icy even without recent precipitation.

Fog passing over a cold road can lead to icy conditions! Be careful when traveling in the early morning. 

What you can do

Be patient when removing ice from your vehicle's windshield, and whatever you do, don't throw hot water on it! Better yet, place a piece of cardboard on your windshield. When it ices up, you can just take the cardboard off for a clear windshield underneath.

Be on the lookout for icy conditions even when it's not obvious. When in doubt, leave extra space between you and the vehicle ahead of you and take it slow. If you do hit a patch of ice, remain calm and don't slam on the breaks. Look in the direction you want to go and steer your car there. If you want to brush up on your skills, Progressive has more tips on winter driving. Their recommendation for spotting black ice? Turn off the radio and listen. You can hear snow crunching under your tires: you can't hear black ice.

Posted 7:00 AM

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