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Get your snow blower and generator ready for storm Nemo

Consumer Reports News: February 07, 2013 08:08 AM

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The Weather Channel is tracking a Nor'easter they've named Winter Storm Nemo, which is poised to become a powerful storm that will likely dump snow on the Northeast this Friday. Forecasters say a clipper from the north is expected to combine with a rainy storm moving through the South to create a snowstorm in many parts of upstate New York and New England. Where and when the two systems collide is still uncertain but now's a good time to make sure your snow blower and generator are working

Borrowing from hurricane season, the Weather Channel began naming significant winter storms this season to make them easier for the public to track. "The fact is, a storm with a name is easier to follow, which will mean fewer surprises and more preparation," said Bryan Norcross of the Weather Channel.

Depending on how it develops, Nemo could become anything from a heavy rain event to a major snowstorm that dumps more than two feet of snow in its path. So if you haven't started your generator or snow blower since October's double whammy of Hurricane Sandy followed by the early Nor'easter, you might want to try them now. And don't forget to check your supply of gasoline.

If you have neither a snow blower nor a generator, check the results of our tests. You can spend $2,500 or more for the biggest, beefiest snow blowers but our tests of almost 50 models confirm that the most capable machines can power away 18 inches or more of heavy snow for less than $700. For the same price, you can buy a top-rated generator capable of powering a houseful of lights and appliances.

In our tests of snow blowers, 22 made our list of top picks ranging in price from the single-stage Toro Power Clear 621 38451, $500, to the two-stage Cub Cadet 930SWE 31AH95SU, $1,600, our top-rated model.

Our top generator picks include four portable and two stationary generators including the top-rated Troy-Bilt XP 7000 30477 portable, $900, and the portable Generac GP5500 5939, $670, a CR Best Buy.

Mary H.J. Farrell

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