We have seen in recent weeks the havoc that a major snowstorm can wreak on an area. Road hazards, school closings, frozen pipes, flooding from melting snow and ice, and dangerous driving conditions are all par for the course when it comes to a snowstorm. Especially if the residents in the area don’t take the weather forecast seriously, or underestimate the impact it can have. If you are like me and live in an area where it doesn’t snow a whole lot, dealing with a major snowstorm isn’t something you’ll encounter often, but it is smart to be prepared anyway. Last year, we got a late winter snow that closed schools for a week, and our own family was iced in for nearly 5 days. We knew ahead of time that we could get significant ice and snow so we planned ahead, and made it just fine. Here are some tips to help you survive a major snowstorm.
Stockpile Food and Water
This is an obvious one, and it goes beyond milk and bread. You want to make sure you have enough food to last your family for several days, maybe longer, if you live a good distance from a store or don’t have a vehicle that can travel well on icy terrain. Obviously, you want to stock up on these things ahead of time. This is one of those times that having a good food stockpile will be very handy. You also want to consider how you will cook these items if the power goes out for a time. Can you heat them easily over a fireplace or camp stove? If you won’t have a way to reheat them, then you will need to focus on eating other foods.
We like to make a large pot of soup and eat on it for several days if it is snowing. Its an easy food to make that stretches well, and simply needs to be reheated. Also make sure to have several high protein foods on hand, especially if you will be out in the weather caring for livestock, chopping wood, or shoveling snow. You will need energy from food for those jobs!
It is also important to make sure you have plenty of water. We get our water from a well, so if the power goes out, so does our water supply. Make sure to have enough bottled water to last everyone in your home for several days, ideally at least 2 weeks, more if you have someone in the home with special needs, like an infant needing formula. For cleaning, you can fill your bathtub with water ahead of the storm, and use that water for those jobs. If temps get to single digits, leave your faucets dripping at night to help keep pipes from freezing.
Avoid Unnecessary Travel
The best advice regarding travel and snowstorms: stay home. If you don’t have a reason to be out, stay where you are. It prevents you from getting out in frigid temps, on icy roads, and having to drive in awful conditions. If you must get out, make sure to leave with plenty of extra time to get to your destination. A simple 20 minute trip could take a couple of hours in hazardous conditions. Make sure your vehicle has an emergency kit with food, water, blankets, a flashlight and extra batteries, and extra gloves, hats, and cold weather gear for everyone in the vehicle.
Listen to the radio or watch weather reports to be aware of any road closures or alternate routes you might need to take. A blizzard can virtually shut down an area, so call ahead to make sure your destination is even open. When we got that huge snow last year, many businesses were shut down for several days due to the hazardous road conditions. Make sure your vehicle is filled with gas before the storm hits, as getting more may not be an immediate possibility.
Prepare a Secondary Source of Heat
Of course, you’re going to want to think about how you will stay warm during a snowstorm. Hopefully, your power will stay on, and you won’t lose your heat source, but it is a reality you need to consider. If you have a wood burning stove, make sure to have plenty of wood chopped and ready ahead of the storm hitting. Many of today’s modern homes will have gas fireplaces, so that they will still have heat should the power go out. Put extra blankets on the beds at night, and try to keep doors and windows tightly closed to help your home stay warm. Roll up a towel and place it across the bottom of exit doors to help block drafts. If you live in an area where you get lots of snow and ice each year, you may want to consider investing in a generator for backup power, especially if you only have electric heat. Also, make sure any outdoor animals have a place to get in out of the elements during the snowstorm.
By taking advantage of these tips, you can weather the storm better. As you can see, making some simple preparations can help to keep your family warm and safe during a major snow event. What is your family doing to prep for snow storms this winter?