Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Be Prepared When Nature Strikes

Powerful forces are at work when Mother Nature plays her hand, namely:  Wind, rain, hail, excessive heat, cold, snow, and more.  Her capacity to challenge human fitness is endless, causing turmoil across the globe, with extreme examples of her wrath.

It's impossible to predict what weather will do, precisely.  Certainly we give cursory analysis to weather forecasts, using a small set of independent variables, which are each studied in an effort to create weather models that accurately predict future outcomes.  The science is relatively straightforward, utilizing empirical findings to support probabilities of upcoming weather events.

The list of influences on weather patterns is fairly short, with secondary factors impacting conditions regionally, and in highly localized weather systems. 

What We Look at to Understand Weather

Several prevailing conditions interact to create the flow of weather in a given area.  Temperature is front and center, easily felt by anyone exposed to the environment, and influential relative to other independent conditions.  Extremes are most problematic, especially prolonged periods, which do not offer relief.

Cold weather concerns, for instance, include slip and fall accidents, car accidents, and damage that occurs to structures unable to withstand cold, snow and ice which can lead to individuals pursuing an accident claim. Effective management of potential cold weather hazards includes preparation, and heightened awareness about potential problems caused by cold.  Proper snow removal, well handling tires, and pre-emptive home fortifications are all relevant strategies for maintaining accident free winter safety standards.

Excessive heat carries its own set of hazards.  Accidental heat exhaustion is possible, when physical exertion exceeds what conditions safely allow.  And even minor physical impairment can lead to other heat-related injuries, inflicted on those who are made vulnerable by oppressive conditions.

Precipitation is one of the most important considerations for homeowners, who expend significant money and resources  protecting structures from water damage.  Moisture is the enemy of wood and other building materials, so comprehensive efforts must be taken to adequately block its impact.  Paint and oil stains are employed to fortify wood's resistance to water.  To avoid accidents, painted surfaces are sometimes impregnated with sand, for traction. Depending on the topography surrounding a property, water must also be diverted and prevented from pooling, so that unsafe conditions do not develop during heavy episodes of precipitation.

As troubling as rain can be to homes and motor vehicle operation, snow and ice multiply the concern, ten-fold.  Paved surface provide excellent travelling for vehicles and pedestrians when they are dry, but moisture mixes with residual oils and other substances present on sidewalks and roads, causing them to become slippery.  When the temperature facilitates it, snow and ice form on the same surfaces, making for treacherous passing.  Accident prevention includes distributing ice melting agents, to clear surface quickly, and snow removal, to keep roads passable.

Volatile Weather Pops Up Quickly

Temperature and precipitation are important considerations, but not the only ones contributing to weather-related accidents.  Winds and barometric pressure play important predictive roles in the way weather develops, especially severe storms and other extreme conditions that arrive suddenly. Accidents are most prevalent during acute weather episodes that catch people off-guard and unprepared to face excessive conditions.

Certain regions, where weather patterns regularly foster pop-up storms, are particularly vulnerable to accident damage.  Forecasters use every tool at their disposal to predict and inform the public, but personal measures must also be in-place to respond quickly to severe weather.

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