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Snow Removal: What to Do After a Blizzard

Filed Under: Know-How, Outdoors

From digging out your car to insulating your home, here are tips and snow removal tricks to make life easier after a blizzard.

When the weather outside is frightful, take steps to make snow removal easier. Photo: Scott SM, Flickr

After being buried in the blizzard of 2010, residents of the Northeast are once again preparing to dig themselves out of as much as 1-2 feet of snow. Meanwhile, much of the Southeast is still iced over from a chilling winter storm that slammed the region on Sunday and Monday. In the midst of all this frightful winter weather, here are tips to make life during the big dig easier to manage.

Sidewalks and Stairs
Without a doubt, the sun makes for the best snow melter. Get out early and shovel sidewalks and stairs so that post-blizzard sunlight can warm up the pavement beneath. Doing this will prevent ice from forming and slippery walks. Salt-based compounds like Blizzard Wizard and Driveway Heat can also help melt icy patches. Apply overnight to prevent melting snow from refreezing. Be careful not to over apply de-icers, as these products can corrode sidewalks and damage plants.

Photo: Chimothy27, Flickr

Make your mailman's life easier and cut a trail for him to swing closer to the mailbox.

Fire Hydrant
If snow has covered the fire hydrant on your street, take the time to clear it and the surrounding area. This will enable firefighters to locate the hydrant easily in case of an emergency.

Trash and Recycling
Unlike the picturesque snow fall depicted in holiday cards, snow storms usually include howling wind. And when wind howls, it blows stuff around such as trash can lids and snow drifts. If trash day is coming up, you don't want to drag a load of snow to the curb that will blow in your face, soak your garbage, make it heavy or leak sludge on your clothes when carrying the can. Avoid this by shoveling the snow off the top of trash cans and recycle bins.

Prepare for Snowbanks
As clean as you make your driveway, there's a good chance a city plow will deposit a snowbank in front of it no matter what. Try shoveling a small track for your car's wheels so you can get in and out of your driveway easily. Also, position the car in the driveway so that the back faces your house. This way you'll have a clear view as you navigate the snow bank.

Brush snow off cars and make sure to clear the snow off car roofs. This will prevent potential accidents caused by huge slabs of snow flying off your car roof when traveling on the highway. A push-broom will make the job easy and sweep off the snow in a few minutes. Some push brooms have metal brackets around the bristle head. To keep from scratching vehicles, wrap duct tape around this material to help protect your car's paint.

The easiest things to mangle when cleaning snow from the car are the wipers. To clean more efficiently, fold them back from the windshield before the snow falls. This will make cleaning the car after the storm much easier. If you forget, make sure the wipers are de-iced from the glass before turning them on. Doing this will protect the rubber blades.

Turn Off the Water
If you haven't turned off the water supply to your outside hoses, a foot of snow should serve as a pretty good reminder that you shouldn't wait anymore. The dangers of not turning off the water include frozen pipes that break or bend from the ice buildup.

Seal Your Windows and Doors
A snow storm's high winds can find its way through cracks and crevices in your house, so make sure to seal those openings with weatherstripping. This will keep your home warm and reduce your heating bills. Also, check the bottoms of doors (especially in old houses) to see if there is a gap beneath the bottom of the door sweep and the floor. If there is one present, get a new sweep or adjust the one that's there now.

  • John F.C. Taylor

    I prepared by parking my car as close to the end of the driveway as possible without blocking sidewalk. That way I didn't have to shovel through the drift that invariably forms halfway down the driveway.

  • I Love SnowDays!

    What to do after a blizzard? GO OUT AND PLAY IN THE SNOW!!!! :-) Have fun and enjoy the time off from your usual busy routine. Make some hot cocoa. Curl up with a good book or the movie you've been dying to watch again. Just plain enjoy your time in your home and don't worry about snow removal. It'll melt soon enough.

  • Paul

    Cover your windshield with a plain old bath towel overnight. Your windshield is cleared in 2 seconds. No shoveling or scraping.

  • Mike

    I Love Snow Days, I'm with you except in our township, the law says the sidewalks must be cleared of snow within 24 hours of the end of the snowfall so I can't wait too long to shovel.

  • BTDT

    Craftsman twenty four inch, two stage snow thrower. Best money I ever spent.


    Stressed much? So, is this your first blizzard? Just move here from San Diego or Mexico? And if your anser is, "no", then when they plow the snow winds up at the same place on your drive way, side walk, yard whatever. So, this shouldn't be a surprise to you. Take a deep breath, have a glass of wine and relax. Just shovel the snow into your yard and wait for it to melt, it always does. The sky isn't falling chicken little.

  • ogbobbye

    I got 4 wheel drive, a 6 speed snow thrower and 2 bags of ice melt..... Bring It

  • John

    Shovel your drive, plow your street, get on with your life. For the first time in my life I agree with Ed Rendell what a bunch of wooses. All the snow will be melted in a few days.

  • GB

    How could you see him laughing if he was driving away from you?

  • Shirley Applebee

    Windshield wipers will not freeze if an additive is put in the windshield washer tank. (Can't remember what its called). It can be purchased at an automotive store. Dry gas will also protect the gas line from freezing.

  • LST

    Glad I live in Florida. It might get cold, but never damn snow to deal with.

  • earthquake

    I'm in Leadville, Colo.,Elev. 10,200 ,lots of snow,doesn't melt till April and then probably will get another foot or two in May. We are having fun,hope you are too.

  • smitty

    you got snow tires? you gots no tires!

  • Betsy

    to lst-yea, but i don't have to board up my windows and leave town when it snows

  • Dusty754

    I don't have to board up anything. It doesn't snow here and there are no hurricanes or tornadoes. Just a whole bunch of cactus. If you want snow then a couple of hours to the north and you have snow.

  • amy

    I love snow thats what inter is all about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Gurr

    offer the kid down the block a buck and maybe he'll shovel it for you

  • Anne

    The kids in my suburban neighborhood don't go door-to-door offering their snow-shoveling services. In the neighborhood where I grew up, they did. Maybe the kids these days are spending their "no school" days catching up on homework or playing video games. From the time when I turned 10 or 11, I LOVED helping my Dad shovel our driveway and walkway to our front steps. Sadly, Dad is no longer alive, and I am now disabled with MS. But, my boyfriend does a great job clearing my driveway with his snowblower.

  • tymberwolfe

    move here down south ya sillys

  • Rob

    Ok for the Einsteins that wrote this article. People that live in areas regularly affected by snow ALREADY know this stuff ( upright your wipers before a storm, use the sun as a snow melter/sidewalk heater.... DUH!. Tell us something we dont know.

  • 28 Comments / 2 Pages

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