Your winter checklist: Winter-proof your home. Prepare for blizzards. Escape to a sunny destination.

The 2012 Farmers Almanac is predicting an unusually cold and stormy winter across Canada, which means preparing your home for harsh, cold and wet conditions, is a must!

 

 
  • To keep your house dry and free from mold, clear snow away from doors and windows.
  • Keep your eye out for ice build up on the edge of your roof.  Clearing the ice will drain that melting snow and water.
  • Seal gaps around the windows with caulking, block up unused chimneys and add weather stripping on external doors.
  • Check your roof for any loose shingles. Can it bear a heavy load of snow? Hire a contractor to examine it if you are unsure.
  • Your driveway and walkways should always be cleared – but don’t use salt! It will eat through your concrete causing cracks.  Sand is a better option.
  • Cut away tree branches that could fall on your house, and consider cutting down dead trees.
  • Remove any outdoor items that can be blown around and possibly damage your house

 Winter storms can bring freezing temperatures, heavy snow and ice, high winds and blizzard conditions. Damage to your home or power outages lasting several days may be possible. Preparing before the storm can help you protect your family and your home.

  • Do you have a shovel? Even if you live in an apartment, you may need to dig yourself out.
  • Flashlights - purchase "Self Powered Flashlights" and "Self Powered Radios". Some models will also charge your cell phone.
  • Decide on a back up heating source in case the power goes out; gas or wood burning fireplace, portable space heater.
  • Stock up on non perishable food. Don’t forget the can opener!
  • Have water bottles on hand. You may want to fill the bathtub when a storm is coming.
  • Leave water taps slightly opened so that they drip continuously, this will prevent freezing and pipes bursting.
  • Blankets will keep you warm.
  • First Aid Kit.
  • Pocket knife.
  • Batteries.
 

If all this talk about blizzards, ice and snow make you want to fly south for the winter, we don’t blame you!      Here are some popular snowbird destinations provided by Reader’s Digest:

                                             

Tucson, Arizona:  With a historic downtown, lots of live music and theatre venues and numerous great restaurants, there is a ton to do and see during a winter escape.  The White Stallion Ranch is a popular choice with families—the all-inclusive meal plan means no one has to cook, and the flexible daily schedule means you won’t be expected to entertain everyone, everyday.

Jekyll Island, Georgia:  Explore miles of barrier island beaches in this nature-based locale. From marsh tours, to dolphin watching, to sea turtle walks, there is something for everyone.  The active visitor can choose from golfing, kayaking, and tennis, and the historical aficionado will relish in the island’s genteel gilded history.  Snowbirds are welcome to train for positions at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center as well as a range of other positions with the Jekyll Island Foundation.

La Quinta, California: For those looking for a resort type getaway and for golf.  La Quinta is home to 20 outstanding golf courses, luxury spas, Vegas like casinos and of course shopping. The community has an exciting arts scene, excellent hiking trails and boasts a great selection of affordable homes.

San Carlos, Mexico:  Emerging as one of the top spots for nature lovers and offers the best of Canadian and Mexican cultures.  Located on the edge of the Sea of Cortez, San Carlos offers excellent fishing, diving, snorkeling and whale watching encounters. Hiking is also popular thanks to the nearby mountains.

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