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As much as we all expect the weather to change across seasons – we’ll wrap up warm in winter and shed the layers in summer – it’s hard not to feel as though the last few years have brought more extremes in this part of the world.

We’re increasingly used to one big storm following another, and last February we were visited by Ciara, Dennis and Jorge; you know things have got serious if a storm is named!

A tree covered in snow

This is a pattern that’s been observable over recent years. Across much of the country the weather remains mild through December, gets much colder in January, and then becomes aggressive when the calendar suggests we should be looking forward to Spring.

So it’s wise to be ready for the tail end of our British winter to swing back and cause some problems in the coming weeks. It’s also important to be ready for what that might bring.

Shop smart, but don’t stockpile for extreme weather

It’s been widely suggested that we could have heavy snow as this winter continues – and it’s only been a couple of years since parts of the country had snow in April, so it’s a good idea to be ready for it. It’s important to have enough food in, should the weather take a turn, so trying to secure a delivery slot, and then doing a larger shop than usual, is a wise move.

One word of warning is that it might take a lot of hunting around with different supermarkets, as lockdown has made people very keen to secure any slots they can. For this reason, try to avoid stockpiling any one item – shelves are getting emptied more easily than usual, and shortages can hurt other people.

Be prepared for a (temporary) loss of some services

Whether storms bring snow or “just” heavy rain and strong winds, they do increase the probability of cuts to both power and running water. This can play havoc with appliances in the home and the resultant power surge when the power comes back on can even cause longer-term problems. Be ready for extreme weather and think ahead.

Always make sure that you can call in a plumber if frozen pipes cause a loss to you, and have a number of emergency electricians who can help out if a power cut leaves you in deeper trouble.

Have a plan to deal with floods

The eventual impact of repeated heavy rainstorms is that water can build up and become a flood – rivers burst their banks, drains overflow, and if you live in a flood-prone area it’s a scary time. This is why it is essential to have a flood plan and a preparedness kit – the former entails knowing where and how to switch off gas and electricity mains and get treasured items to safety, while the latter includes clean drinking water and flashlights as well as a first-aid kit.

Even if you don’t live somewhere that is prone to flooding, be aware that heavy storms can affect areas nearby to you and you can suddenly become more isolated than you were expecting. It makes sense to make the above preparations wherever you are based.

Staying calm in an emergency is key to being ready for extreme weather, focus on what you can do and what you can’t do and get help when you need it from friends, family and professionals.

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