Snow. Ice. Water. Mother Nature has left us with a mess and quite a few headaches. Especially for tens of thousands of residents around the Metro area left without power.
A big question: What to do with the food in the fridge and freezer?
If you've kept your freezer doors shut, a full freezer will stay at freezing temperatures for about two days. A half freezer, about one day.
If your frozen food has ice crystals or if it's still cold, you can refreeze the food. However, the quality may not be as good.
As for the fridge, you should be OK as long as the power has not been out for more than a few hours and you keep the refrigerator shut.
The magic number is 40 degrees.
Here's what can spoil: Meat, fish poultry, dairy and egg products and soft cheeses.
Also, keep an eye on cooked beans, cooked rice, cooked potatoes, pasta salads and custards.
Foods that do not spoil, but may lose quality include: salad dressings, mayonnaise, butter and hard cheeses.
When in doubt, though, throw it out!
This cold weather can also affect your pipes. If you have to temporarily leave your home, remember to turn off your main water valve.
Open all faucets in your home and flush the toilets by holding the handle down until all the water is out of the bowl. That prevents it from freezing.
And never pour any anti-freeze down the drain.
Also, remember to turn a gas water heater to its lowest setting. If it's electric, turn off the breaker.
If you leave your home, do not turn the electric off. Rather, set the thermostat at 68-degrees. When the power comes back on, it will heat your home.
In the meantime, make sure you have flashlights and batteries to keep them running.
Keep a portable radio so you can stay informed.
Keep a non-electric can opener on hand so you can eat out of canned goods.
And make sure you have a battery-operated smoke detector so you are alerted, even without power.