Snow storm damage? III has the scoop

clearing snow

After you’re done digging out from the snow today, are you safe in putting the shovels and  scrapers away yet? Probably not – New England weather is full of surprises. Yesterday’s storm was billed as late in the season, but many New Englanders recall the infamous 1997 April Fool’s Day Blizzard, which deposited 25.4″ at Boston’s Logan Airport. And in 1977, on May 10, Worcester accumulated almost 13″ of snow, while Providence saw about 7″. And then there is the historic 1816, dubbed the year without summer, that recorded snow in June.

In terms of snow totals overall, the 2014-2015 snow season is the record breaker, with 110.6 inches in Boston; Lowell and Worcester both came in at about 120 inches for the season.

While yesterday’s storm proved less intense in some areas than predicted, there were hours of heavy, damaging wind and the coast was battered. Many communities saw power outages, and some people are coping with storm related property damage today.

Claire Wilkinson of the Insurance Information Institute’s blog has a handy run-down: Winter Storm Damage? Insurers Have You Covered, discussing damages that are typically covered by auto policies and homeowners policies. The good news is that typical homeowners policies cover most home-related storm damage with a few exceptions.

One exception is flooding, which would include melting snow seeping into the cellar. Flooding is not typically covered by Homeowners, you need a specific flood coverage, a separate policy. See our prior post: Does homeowners insurance cover flooding?

While flooding from a burst pipes or ice dams would generally be covered, Wilkinson notes that in the event of burst pipes, “there is generally a requirement that the homeowner has taken reasonable steps to prevent these losses by keeping the house warm and properly maintaining the pipes and drains.”

If you do need to file a homeowners claim for storm damage, here’s some advice: Putting in a homeowners claim? … Talk your agent first!

And also from the Insurance Information Institute, here is a brief overview of the steps for filing a home insurance claim.

Snow day toolkit: Shoveling, sharing the road with plows & more

Snow day! Despite many closures in anticipation of a fast-moving storm today, some people still need to be out and about, and most of us will need to deal with the subsequent cleanup. We’ve ferreted through our archives to find some of the best tips we’ve found on cealing wiht the snow safely. And to get you in the spirit, we’re offering a few interesting snow related clips:

Here’s a mesmerizing extreme snow removal video that may make you feel better about a measly 8-14 inches

Snow shoveling 101: Best shovels, best techniques

Sharing the road with snow plows & more winter driving tips

Take care: Shoveling snow can kill or injure you

Snow shoveling and snow removal safety

And after it’s over:
Snowmageddon: Is your roof at risk of collapse?

Snowmageddon: Is your roof at risk of collapse?

After the unprecedented series of record-breaking snowstorms, we’re hearing some reports of roofs collapsing under the weight of the snow. One of our insurance partners, The Hanover, posted this persuasive graphic on their Twitter feed comparing the cost of a roof replacement vs a roof rake.


That’s pretty convincing, but how do you know if your home or business is at risk? The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety has a great infographic (below) along with an informative post on Four Steps to Identify and Address Roof Risks from Heavy Snow – it offers tips for how to identify and assess your risk and how to address problems safely. It’s well worth a read, particularly since forecasters say there may be more snow in our future this week!

This has got to end someday, right? When it does, keep this resource handy:
Responding to Flooding When Snow and Ice Melt


Take care: Shoveling snow can kill or injure you

“Shoveling lots of wet, heavy snow presents a real risk of heart attack if you’re not in shape to do it. And musculoskeletal injuries are even more common.” That’s a reminder from Lenny Bernstein, who offers excellent tips for shoveling safely in the Washington Post. The following short video accompanies his tips.

We also really like this great tip list from Roy Berendsohn of Popular Mechanics: 16 Cardinal Rules for Snow Shoveling. Roy also offers a handy guide to help you to choose the best tool for the type of conditions and the task: Which Snow Shovel Is the Best?


New England Blizzard Watch Toolkit


We’re expecting a severe weather event later today that will measure the snow in feet, not inches. According to most reports, snow will begin this afternoon, intensify during the evening, continue all day tomorrow and taper off either overnight or early Wednesday. It’s been classified as a blizzard  — and in case you need a name to curse, this storm has been dubbed “Juno.”

NWS Taunton Skywarn offers the Latest NWS Graphics on the potentially historic blizzard, noting that “Accumulating snows arrives this afternoon & impacts the late day commute across RI & Eastern MA. Then heavy snow arrives later tonight into Tue morning with historic snowfall possible before the storm pulls away late Tue night or early Wed. In addition Hurricane Force Wind gusts are likely across Cape Cod & the Islands late tonight into Tue morning. This will likely result in down tree limbs and at least scattered power outages.”

As of this morning, more than 2,000 flights have been cancelled. CNN offers info on What you need to know if you’re traveling

We’ve been tracking developments on our New England weather twitter feed, a compilation of breaking tweets from regional meteorologists – Twitter is a great source for breaking news so if you don’t have the app on your phone, you may want to think about doing that pre-storm. For a view beyond New England, meteorologist Eric Holthaus offers a go-to weather climate list of hundreds of weather watchers.

Here are resources to have handy as the storm approaches:

National Weather Service – (NWS Twitter)

State Emergency Departments – websites / Twitter feeds

Connecticut  – (@CTDEMHS)

Maine – (@MaineEMA)

Massachusetts – (@MassEMA)

New Hampshire – (@NH_HSEM)

Rhode Island – (@RhodeIslandEMA)

Vermont – (@vemvt)

Handy tips

Extreme Cold: A Prevention Guide – emergency tips for before, during and after a storm

Winter Storm Preparedness – Red Cross

Power Outages During Cold Weather

Preventing frozen pipes: tips from the experts

Winter fires (PDF)

Before and after winter storms: advance planning and filing claims

Snow shoveling and snow removal safety

Sharing the road with snow plows & more winter driving tips

Are you ready for snowy, icy roads? Hone your winter driving skills

Winter Driving Tips