Winter Storm Damage? How to Get Cleaned Up Without Getting Cleaned Out

Here are 13 ways to dig out and clean up from winter storm damage — and avoid ripoffs.

Winter weariness is turning to wariness as costly cleanups threaten to clean out our wallets.

Milder weather may replace wintry storms across much of the nation, but snow banks, leaky roofs and corroding cars can keep memories of Winter 2015 from melting away anytime soon.

As it wore on, winter buried cities from Massachusetts to Maine under 100 inches of snow. Storms stretched into Alabama and Georgia, and pipe-busting freezes caused havoc deep into the heart of Texas. Dozens died from heart attacks while shoveling snow, in car pileups and from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by improperly used heaters.

Hundreds of roofs buckled.

“It just dropped down. … Then bang! Just this loud bang!” Jennifer Eller of Pepperell, Massachusetts, told WCVB-TV after her garage roof came down while she was in one of the two cars preparing to leave home. “And you could feel the whole car move. I physically ducked, thinking I could be squished here flat. And then it was over.” (The other car in the garage was crushed, but the one she was in suffered less damage and she was unhurt.)

On March 1, snow covered nearly two-thirds of the Lower 48 states, according to a National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center (NOHRSC) analysis. Snow was on the ground in 49 of the 50 states that day. By March 8, half of the Lower 48’s snow melted, leaving them only 30.1 percent covered, with the deepest snow remaining in New England, the northern Great Lakes and the Rockies.

As the snow recedes, winter’s damage becomes clearer.

“Everybody’s on standby for some pretty hefty losses,” Jerry Alderman, New England president of Marsh & McLennan insurance broker, told MassLive.com. The outfits removing the snow are “stretched pretty thin,” he said.

Winter storms caused an estimated $2.3 billion in insured losses in 2014, but the total isn’t expected to be quite so high when 2015 damage is tallied.

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