News Tips to use ice melt products properly and lower the risks they pose to pets, propertyEmma.Curtis•For years, homeowners and snow removal companies alike have been over rock-salting their sidewalks, driveways and roads without realizing the damage it causes to pets, the environment and infrastructure.While rock salt and other ice melt products have their benefits, especially regarding human safety – it’s important to remember negative product impacts and how to prevent them.Stand on top of the snowSalt and chloride products should always be used in combination with shoveling, snow blowing or plowing. The products are not made to melt three or four inches of snow, rather they should be used to melt ice or stubborn, packed-down snow.By using too much ice melt product at a time, consumers run the risk of clumps of salt forming and remaining on the concrete or asphalt after the snow or ice has melted. These remaining salt clumps can cause damage to walkways, driveways and landscaping.The ice melt can cause concrete and some asphalts to crack. The product can also have harmful effects on pets that tends to go outside.”Using too much ice melt product is economically wasteful. Environmentally, you’re contributing more chlorides that will eventually reach freshwater sheds,” explained Phill Sexton, a primary sustainability adviser at WIT Advisers. „Salt that is over saturated can have a reverse effect, it can actually cause concrete to freeze.”AP snow feb 12 The environmental impact of sodium chloride, whether you use a lot or a little can really affect the local freshwater supply.”There’s really no way to remove chloride from fresh water when it becomes contaminated,” explained Martin Tirado, CEO of the Snow and Ice Management Association.Although many brands and variations of ice melt products claim to be „environmentally safe” or „non-corrosive” it’s important to remember that these claims are not strictly regulated, according to Sexton. Although they may contain corrosion inhibitors, they still contain the same amount of harmful and corrosive sodium chloride as other ice melt products.”If you’re looking for something that may be less corrosive to infrastructure like concrete, doorways or anything with metal, you need to understand that anything with chlorides will cause that corrosion,” Sexton said. „You might have a bag of salt that has a non-corrosive inhibitor, but the fact is, if it still has chloride in the bag, it’ll still have some sort of corrosive effect.”Pets can face dangers such as illness from ingestion, irritation from corrosive elements and bleeding from contact with ice melt products. To avoid these dangers, the ASPCA recommends you should bring a towel on long walks to wipe your pet’s paws if they get irritated and then wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach when returning from a walk.Using the precise amount of product dictated on the labels of ice melt compounds is best to ensure using no more than absolutely necessary.”You should use just enough to have pavement that is free and clear of snow and ice,” Tirado said. „Too often the pavement is clear of ice, but you’re still walking on clumps of rock salt.”Sexton noted that it is common for people to apply generous layers of ice melt to small surface areas, rather than referring to the recommended amount on package labels.”If you had a ten-foot-wide by 100-foot-long driveway, the right amount of salt is no more than a coffee can full. But most people would likely put down 25-50 lbs,” Sexton said. „Putting more salt down does not mean it will be more effective, sometimes it can even be less effective.””When you use too much rock salt, you are being economically less effective and environmentally less responsible,” said Sexton.For more safety and preparedness tips, visit AccuWeather.com/Ready.
News Floods, mudslides as storm wallops Southern California CHRISTOPHER WEBER •Storm dumps rain, snow on Southern California LOS ANGELES (AP) — The second storm in a week brought record-breaking rainfall to parched Los Angeles on Thursday, jamming traffic on Southern California highways and prompting evacuations in wildfire-scarred areas.A mudslide shut down Pacific Coast Highway and surrounding roads in and around Malibu neighborhoods charred by last month’s massive fire that destroyed hundreds of homes.Kirby Kotler and his neighbors spent days before the storm stacking 18,000 sandbags behind their homes along the highway. But when heavy rains arrived, mud, water and rocks blasted through the bags and across their properties.Kotler, who wielded water hoses to beat back the flames in November, used a tractor to keep the debris from entering his home.”Saving my house once again,” said Kotler, 57, a lifelong Malibu resident. „I’m more than a little concerned. If we get another blast of heavy rain there’ll be no stopping the hill from coming down.”Malibu officials reported no injuries and no major property damage.At Hollywood Burbank Airport, about 15 miles (33 kilometers) north of downtown Los Angeles, nobody was hurt when a Southwest Airlines plane from Oakland skidded off a wet runway as it landed. The plane came to a stop in a graded area designed to slow aircraft that overshoot the runway, the Federal Aviation Administration said.”As we landed, you could feel the brakes,” passenger Grant Palmer told KABC-TV. „Then I started noticing the plane going sideways.”Palmer said he was prepared to tuck into an emergency posture while his unflappable co-worker continued writing emails during the rough landing.Los Angeles and the rest of Southern California sorely need rainfall. Virtually the entire region is experiencing drought conditions, with portions of Los Angeles and Ventura counties and areas along the Mexican border in extreme drought.The storm provided a big boost in and around Los Angeles. The downtown area set a new rainfall record for the day with 1.9 inches (4.8 centimeters) of rain, nearly double the previous record set in 1997, the National Weather Service reported. Normal monthly rainfall for December is only a bit more — 2.33 inches.While rain caused numerous accidents and backups on LA-area freeways, heavy snow forced the closure of Interstate 5 in the Grapevine area between Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley. The hours-long shutdown along the key north-south route caused backups for miles.Motorists were urged to use caution on mountain passes, where up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) of snow was predicted at higher elevations.Mandatory evacuations were ordered for hundreds of homes in Trabuco Canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains south of Los Angeles and Lake Elsinore neighborhoods in Riverside County. Both were burned in another massive wildfire earlier this year. Video showed a churning, muddy torrent full of tree trunks smashing down a bridge guardrail.In Orange County, flooding closed several schools. Floodwaters also submerged several cars in Costa Mesa and rain partially collapsed the roof of a commercial building in Irvine but no injuries were reported.In San Diego County, rain partially collapsed the roof of a child care center in Carlsbad.Nobody was injured and the children, staff and even pets inside were evacuated, including a chinchilla, a snake, a scorpion, a tarantula, a leopard gecko, two toads, a tree frog, a bearded dragon and a lizard, KSWB-TV reported.A portion of southbound State Route 170 in Los Angeles was shut down after mud flowed onto the roadway. Firefighters rescued motorists from cars stuck in a flooded intersection in the city’s North Hollywood area.East of Los Angeles, a 13-car crash snarled the morning commute for several hours on a rainy freeway near Moreno Valley but caused only one minor injury, authorities said.Firefighters also rescued a man from the flood-swollen Los Angeles River in suburban La Habra. Storm waters in the concrete flood-control channel have swept away people in previous years._Follow Weber at https://twitter.com/WeberCM
News At least four killed in Cyprus flooding• Divers search a swollen river in Kyrenia, north Cyprus, December 6, 2018. REUTERS/Yiannis KourtoglouATHENS (Reuters) – At least four people were killed in flooding in northern Cyprus as hail and rain hammered the island, Turkish Cypriot media reported on Thursday.The victims died when their car was swept away during heavy rain late on Wednesday, media reported. Cyprus residents have reported virtually uninterrupted rain since early Tuesday, with some saying it was the heaviest in memory.Flash flooding from an isolated downpour is not uncommon on the island, but sustained floods are rare. Further bad weather was expected on Thursday, with the met office issuing a severe alert warning for the next 24 hours.”In minutes, it’s gone from beautiful sunshine to freezing cold with rumbles of thunder in the distance,” one northern Cyprus resident said. People were sewing sandbags to prevent water seeping through window seals and under doors, she said.Images on social media showed cars swept into the sea or submerged in flood water and water gushing through homes. Rivers burst their banks, causing damage in the Cypriot capital Nicosia and forcing the partial closure of a motorway linking the city to Kyrenia, a historic harbor town on the northern coast.Many schools were shut. Damage was reported to the road network from torrential rain in the south of the island on Wednesday.(Reporting By Michele Kambas; Editing by Janet Lawrence)