NJ, NYC and Boston Road Travel Prohibited as Massive Snowstorm Hits

There are travel bans in place in New Jersey, New York City and Boston as a potentially historic massive snowstorm bears down on the Northeast. Winter storms of this caliber only come along every few years and forecasters are saying that the big storm could bring the most snow ever recorded in parts of the Northeast as several feet may come down. There were thousands of school closings and flight cancellations taking place ahead of the storm Monday as heavy snow along with hurricane-force winds were expected. It is very rare for New York City and Boston to ban all forms of travel due to weather but that’s exactly what those two cities did.

Tens of millions of people from Philadelphia to Boston scrambled to get home Monday as the colossal storm was bearing down on them. Most forecasters agree that this super winter storm with strong whipping winds and heavy snowfall could paralyze the Northeast for several days. Snow was already falling in New York City and Boston Monday early evening. Forecasters warned that the storm would grow into a powerful blizzard wherein the worst of it would hit late Monday and into Tuesday morning.

Over 7000 flights in and out of the Northeast were canceled with many of them not scheduled to lift again until mid-week. Schools, businesses and government offices closed down early Monday to allow people to get home safely before the worst of the storm struck. People were crowding supermarkets throughout the region Monday afternoon to stock up on necessities.

States of emergencies were declared in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York ahead of the big storm. NYC major Bill de Blasio warned city residents that this storm may be one of the largest blizzards in the history of the city. He said people need to take the storm warnings seriously. The mayor told New Yorkers to go home and stay there and said people need to make smart decisions during this storm. The National Weather Service put a blizzard warning into effect for a 250 mile swath of the region and said winds could gust up to 70 miles per hour or more and that New York could get 2 feet of snow and Boston up to 3 feet.

By 11pm Monday, the subways and buses in New York City were shut down.
Commuter trains across the Northeast also were being scheduled to stop running overnight and most flights coming and going were grounded. Forecasters are warning of possible power outages due to the storm as well as damaging flooding and beach erosion which is very possible in New Jersey and on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Additional utility crews were put on standby across the region to handle anticipated power outages.

Extreme Cold Weather Hard On Homes and Cars Alike

This week has been cold for many parts of the United States. When this type of cold hits, it can devastate many homes and businesses in the form of water damage, ice dams on roofs, and even burst pipes. Frozen pipes are accountable for many cases of water damage each year in the United States, but luckily it can be prevented by taking some preventative measures.

Each winter the pipes that are in your home are at risk of freezing due to the cold temperatures. These low temperatures can cause your pipes to freeze and even burst if the problem persists. Here are some tips to help you prepare your home before your pipes can freeze.

First, you can start outside by disconnecting any gardening hoses and installing covers on all outside faucets. After disconnecting your hoses you will want to make sure that they are completely drained before storing them away for winter. Next, you will want to adjust the thermometer to a warmer temperature. You should always keep your home at 68 degrees or higher even if you’re leaving the house for an extended period of time, because cold is the culprit to frozen and burst pipes.


frozen_pipes

Opening the doors to the cabinets below the sink will allow heat from your home to circulate around the pipes, keeping them at a warmer temperature. You will want to insulate the pipes that are closest to any exterior walls with pipe insulation or heating tape. This will prevent them from freezing, especially the interior pipes that run along outside walls. You can get both pipe insulation and heating tape at your local hardware store. Make sure that all of the windows near water pipes are closed and sealed correctly. Check for any drafts, and if there are, caulk the spaces that you can determine are letting in cold air.

Heat your basement and also consider weather sealing your windows. Insulate any outside walls or unheated parts of your estate. The best and most effective way to prevent frozen pipes is by preparing ahead of time. Did you know that a 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can let out 250 gallons of water in just one day? Imagine what that could do to a home if the homeowners were not around to catch it.

To many people’s surprise, ice that forms in a pipe usually doesn’t cause a break where the blockage occurs. What causes the pipe to burst is the expansion inside of the pipe that is caused by the pressure between the ice blockage and the water trying to get through.

If one of your pipes does freeze, you can try to thaw it yourself using a hair dryer. Do not try this if there is standing water in your home. To thaw a frozen pipe, heat some water on the stove and soak some towels in the hot water, then wrap them around the coldest sections of the pipes. When you do try to thaw a pipe, you will want to start thawing nearest to the faucet, and make sure to keep it on so that the melted water can drip out.

Now if you’re leaving your home for an extended period of time, the best way to prevent your pipes from freezing is to turn off your water at the main and then open all faucets or showers and flush all toilets after turning off the main line. This will get all of the water out of your pipes. The only pressure that will be left is by the main valve which is just above the ground, so it will not freeze.

Leaving your home at 68 degrees is always a good idea but if the power goes out, your furnace will be out. With this weather the pipes could freeze quickly. That is why it is smart to take other measures to ensure that your pipes do not freeze this winter.

Definitive Guide Towards Repairing Your Credit and Improving Your Loan Chances In 2015

If you have bad credit and mounting debt, it can seem hopeless, but there are things you can do step by step to fix the issue. Especially in the coming months with changes to the FICO scoring system. Now more than ever repairing your credit is easier than ever. We sat down with Kyle Burton who covers consumer financial loans for installment loans network, a network of online loan offers for borrowers with average to excellent credit to get some tips towards repairing credit and improving your chances for qualifying for a loan from the lenders perspective. There are steps you can take right now to begin the road to repairing your blemished credit history.

The first step is to pull your credit reports
. When you pull your own credit report it does not contrary to popular belief damage your credit. When you pull your own credit it does not count as a hard inquiry, but a soft inquiry seen only by you. Creditors will not even see that you pulled your own credit report. Pulling your current credit report will let you know exactly what you need to work on to fix your credit. Every debt that is outstanding that creditors bothered to report will be listed between one, two or all three credit reports. You can obtain free copies of your credit reports from all three major credit bureaus which are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, at AnnualCreditReport.com. The credit reports are free thanks to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), and pulling your credit report from this website does not require you to enter any banking or credit card info.

After you have pulled your credit reports, make sure that the reports do not include any errors what so ever. Even an error in address can effect you. If for example a creditor has reported you as being late on a payment and you were not late you can dispute this with both the credit bureau in writing and the creditor. An inaccurately reported late payment for example can lower your score by up to 100 points. If you have a negative account and it is older than seven years you can have the negative removed from your credit reports. You can also dispute anything that you feel cannot be verified. Also you can dispute any inaccurate, incomplete, or out of date information appearing on your reports. A very common error found on credit reports is inaccurate credit limits and account balances, these should also be disputed as they to can effect your score. You can dispute by mail or for faster result directly at the credit reporting agencies website. Credit bureaus by law have only 30 days to investigate and respond to your dispute, though they can get a 15 day extension should you be required to send in additional proof while they investigate your claims. When you do dispute, do include all relevant information about your claims, as failure to do so can cause a delay.

Credit Bureaus Dispute Addresses:

Equifax
P.O. Box 7404256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256

Experian
Dispute Department
P.O. Box 9701
Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion
Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000

If you are in debt and your debt to income ration is what has done in your credit, avoid new purchases on your credit cards. Using up more than 30% of your available credit results in a loss of points on your credit score. Your use of available credit is your credit utilization, and this has a huge impact on your score. This affects both your Fico Score and your Vantagescore, which is another type of credit scoring used widely. The best way to not take a credit score hit is to keep your credit utilization low. Credit utilization is counted per account and also all accounted added together overall. Once your reduce your credit balances and keep them down, your credit score will go up substantially. Many people are unaware that even if you pay the balance off every month, simply using more than 30% of your available credit can and does lower your score temporarily.

If you are behind on your payments these need to be caught up as soon as possible. Payment history accounts for 35% of your current credit score. The farther behind you get on payments, the more your credit score starts to suffer. If your account gets sent to a collection agency or charged off your score takes a dive, so make sure to prevent any current accounts from entering into collections status. You can contact your creditor to work out payment arrangements, and some credits will re-age your account on request to show you as current, creditors are often willing to do this is you can pay the balance off in full, especially if you have never been late with a payment before hand. The term is called negotiating a pay for delete. As a last resort if you are way behind on payments you can always try and settle the account or less than what is owed. With the changes in the FICO scoring coming this fall, settlements will not hurt your credit as much as it used to. If you do settle the account be aware the term “Settled” by be notated on the account.

While you are repairing damaged credit, limit any new credit applications. 10% of your score is composed of the number of inquiries on your credit report. Inquiries happen every time a credit pulls your credit report, and trying to open a new account will always result in an inquiry. If you view your credit report and see inquiries that were not the result of you applying for credit do not worry these are often from other creditors do a pre screening for pre-approved credit card offers. You only suffer hard inquiries that effect your score when you apply for any type of credit.

You may be tempted to close some accounts out while repairing your credit, but this most often times has no positive effect on your credit, in fact it often has the reverse. You need at least 3 open credit sources listed on your file to avoid falling into the thin credit category, which would result in you no longer having any credit score, which is far worse than having a poor score.

Last but not least if credit card debt is the majority of your debt, and if your score is still at least 620, you can try to apply for a credit card with a balance transfer. This works better when your score is higher, as you get better rates and offers. Many cards offer a year with no interest on balance transfers.