Preparing Your Family for an Ice Storm

Preparing Your Family for an Ice Storm

Snow and cold aren’t the only severe risks brought by winter weather; ice storms can also be crippling and dangerous. In fact, a single storm caused over $1B of damage in the Northeast U.S. in the late 1990s.

On the roads, ice storms cause hazardous travel conditions. Note that while an appropriate vehicle may allow you to drive more easily through snow, no kind of vehicle can travel safely on ice. If an ice storm is imminent, be prepared to alter any travel plans you may have.

Iced power lines and trees can also cause long-lasting power outages and damage to your home, automobile or other property by falling branches. According to The Weather Channel, ice can make tree branches up to 30 times heavier and power lines up to 500 pounds heavier. The presence of wind may exacerbate these problems.  

Below are some tips to help you and your family prepare for an ice storm.

Before the storm:

  • Consider purchasing studded snow tires or tire chains if you live in a northern climate. They should be placed on your vehicle if an ice storm is on its way in case you need to drive your vehicle in an emergency.
  • Invest in a generator. Outages may last days and will interrupt a home’s heat and critical systems.
  • Have your trees inspected by an arborist to ensure they are properly maintained.

If a storm is imminent:

  • Remember to stay off the roads, and park your car indoors if you can. Otherwise, consider covering your vehicle using a tarp and bungee cords to prevent ice accumulation, which is difficult to remove and may prevent you from accessing your vehicle in an emergency.
  • Confirm that your generator is fueled up, or that its permanent fuel supply line is unobstructed.
  • If you have a fireplace or other alternative heat source, ensure your fuel supply is well stocked.
  • If you lose power and do not have a generator or alternate source of heat, consider shutting off your water and draining your plumbing to protect against frozen pipes.
  • Prune tree limbs that could threaten your home, automobile or other property.

If you would like assistance in purchasing a generator, finding a local arborist or implementing any of the other advice above, a PURE Member Advocate® can help. Call (888) 813-PURE or email


To learn more about winter-weather risks, click the links below.

Advice to Reduce the Likelihood of a Winter-Weather Loss

An Unoccupied Home Can Increase the Severity of a Loss

Common Misconceptions about Frozen Pipes

How to Recognize and Intervene When a Pipe has Frozen or Burst

What is an Ice Dam?