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Winter Weather Outlook: Three Things You Should Know

AccuWeather meteorologists have made their annual forecast and unveiled a detailed region-by-region breakdown of the U.S. winter forecast as well as seasonal snowfall predictions, thanks to a team of long-range forecasters. Here are three things to take away from the 2022-2023 Winter Outlook:

1. In addition to fueling an active final stretch of the Atlantic hurricane season, which officially lasts through the end of November, warm waters off the coasts of the Southeast will promote frequent storms and downpours across the region as winter approaches. Some heavier rain events will be possible across the Gulf Coast states and into the Tennessee Valley from December into February, including the risk for some severe weather, according to AccuWeather meteorologists. 

Severe weather as a whole decreases across the U.S. during the winter months, but it can still be disastrous across the Southeast during this time of year. Last December, a severe weather outbreak spawned tornadoes in nine states, causing 76 fatalities and $18 billion in damage just before the start of the holiday season.2. Residents across the Northeast and Midwest will experience a few glimpses of winter in November and December as waves of cold air dive down from Canada, but the biggest blasts of cold air will hold off until later in the winter. The clash of cold air with lingering warmth could spark an out-of-season severe weather event in the Midwest or Ohio Valley late in November or in December.

This could generate some early-season snow, but this will not be an indicator of how the entire winter will play out, but instead, the start of a bookend winter in terms of snowfall. Snowfall for the season as a whole is likely to be below normal for most of the central Appalachians, Ohio Valley and interior mid-Atlantic, but precipitation could end up above normal with a few rain events throughout the winter.

3. AccuWeather meteorologists are predicting that most of the contiguous U.S. will experience a mild start to winter, but some of the warmest weather throughout December could be focused on the central Plains. Temperatures throughout the final month of 2022 are forecast to run about 3 degrees Fahrenheit above normal across part of the nation's midsection.

The mild start to the winter will not necessarily be indicative of what is foreseen to unfold across the region after the calendar flips to 2023. One of the biggest players in the central U.S. this winter will be the polar vortex, a large pocket of frigid air that typically resides in the vicinity of the Arctic Circle. Occasionally, the polar vortex over the North Pole is displaced and can dive southward across a large swath of the U.S., unleashing the coldest air of the entire winter across dozens of states. February is the month to watch for the polar vortex to usher in brutally cold Arctic air across the Rockies and most of the central U.S.

Before winter is in full effect, take the steps now to prepare your property. Keep the following in mind:

  • Keep the water flowing. Frozen pipes can burst, causing significant water damage to any business location. Prevent this from happening by:
    • Keep thermostats set at a minimum of 55°F when the building is empty.
    • During especially cold situations, run a small trickle of water through your faucets.
    • Expose pipes to warmer temperatures by keeping cabinet and utility room doors open.
    • Ensure all pipes in difficult-to-access areas—such as crawlspaces, exterior walls, or attics—are insulated.
  • Schedule preventive maintenance for your office heating system. This should include:
    • Checking that the boiler and heating system are running efficiently.
    • Check for problems with airlocks, leakage, and thermostat control. Additional steps include
      • Sealing air leaks around items such as doors or windows
      • Checking duct systems for any gaps or holes
      • Automating your thermostat. Consider the benefits of reducing energy waste by installing an automated thermostat that you can control remotely through your smartphone.
  • Keep up with roof maintenance. Your roof can take the brunt of winter’s force, whether it’s bitter cold, snow, ice or rain. Prevent additional damage with the following tips:
    • Clear your roof of all debris, dirt and leaves. They can block gutters and downspouts, preventing snowmelt from properly draining away from the building. It can also cause ice dams and heavy snow buildup on your roof, which can cause additional damage.
    • Inspect gutters and downspouts to see how securely they are fastened to the building. Snow and ice can cause gutters to weaken and break away from the building, allowing water to seep into the wrong areas.
    • If a winter storm occurs, plan to have a professional snow removal service clear the roof, preventing excessive loads on the roof and eliminating the possibility of structural failure.

When it comes to keeping your commercial property safe, the best defense is a good offense. Many restoration companies are only there for you after your property is in need of repairs. At ServiceMaster DSI, we believe that effective preparation is the best way to help minimize the extent of damages when disasters strike. That’s why we offer the industry’s only Pre-Disaster Program. Call us at 800-954-9444, or request a free property evaluation by a dedicated account representative.