Freak Blizzard Leaves Dozens In Dire Situation


( – Survival situations rarely spring up when people are expecting them, especially when Mother Nature is involved. Freak storms can strike without warning, putting lives and property in danger. More than 80 runners in an ultramarathon race in Utah learned this the hard way on Saturday.

The race, which spans roughly 50 miles through East Mountain Wilderness Park, was stuck with severe blizzard conditions approximately four hours after it began. The storm assailed the runners with more than a foot of snowfall.

According to a statement from the Davis County Sheriff’s Office, Search and Rescue (SAR) teams were dispatched to find runners stranded in the white-out conditions. SARs deployed 4x4s and snowmobiles in their search efforts.

In total, SARs rescued 87 runners from the storm, though some suffered hypothermia from their time in the snow.

While running marathons isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, this is a stark reminder that winter is coming. The time to prepare for Mother Nature’s wrath is now.

A Blizzard Is Coming… Are You Ready?

Winter storms can strike hard, bringing subzero temperatures, blackouts and a host of other dangers. When a blizzard strikes, having the knowledge necessary to survive is vital. The threats the storms pose are serious, and many people die in these situations due to a lack of basic information.

Why Blizzards are Dangerous

A severe winter storm is capable of creating subzero temperatures. When coupled with blackouts, temperatures this low can be a deadly combination. Often, power plants become overburdened by the increase in businesses and households running heating systems. But freezing rain can take down power lines, resulting in blackouts.

When the power goes out, people will mistakenly look to alternative sources of heat, such as gas stoves, power generators and propane heaters. Unfortunately, these come with a danger of their own — carbon monoxide poisoning. Never attempt to heat your home using a grill or gas oven, as carbon monoxide poisoning is deadly.

Other dangers to prepare for during a blizzard include:

  • Frostbite
  • Hypothermia
  • Frozen/burst water lines
  • Heart attacks from overexertion
  • Downed communication lines
  • Overtaxed emergency services

How to Prepare

The key to surviving a blizzard is preparing before it arrives. This can be done in a variety of ways, starting with getting the home ready. Insulating pipes will help prevent freezing and bursting. Not only are burst pipes potentially dangerous, but they’re also expensive to repair once the storm has passed.

Here are more ways to prepare the home:

  • Inspect smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they’re operational.
  • Weather-proof windows and doors with caulking and weather strips.
  • Cover windows with plastic on the inside to help conserve heat.
  • Trim branches that may pose a threat to the home, should they freeze and break.
  • Ensure the attic and walls are sufficiently insulated.
  • Gather supplies such as food, water, medication and pet food (if applicable).

Blizzards can last anywhere from hours to days, so prepare for the worst and hope for the best. It’s better to have enough food and water stored away for a week or two than not having enough when snowed in for a long period of time.

Stay Warm!

Staying warm during a blizzard is the difference between life and death. When the power is on, the heating systems should be operational. However, once the power goes out, the real trouble begins. Begin by making sure no heat is escaping the house by placing towels at the bottom of the doors to ensure no cold air is getting in, and no warm air is able to escape.

Get all of the residents of the household into one room, preferably a smaller room (as larger rooms are harder to keep warm). The shared body heat will help to keep everyone warm. To maximize this effect, set up a tent in the room and have everyone stay within it. Sleeping bags and blankets can be piled up inside to ensure the family, including pets, stays warm.

Hot beverages such as cocoa, coffee and tea will help warm the body and improve everyone’s mood. Avoid alcohol, though. It may feel warm going down, but it doesn’t actually warm. Additionally, becoming intoxicated during an emergency situation is never a good idea.

Winter weather always has the potential to be dangerous, even if only while traveling on slick roads. To see how to survive while driving in winter, check out our article here.

~Here’s to Your Survival!

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