Monday, January 10, 2011

10 Things You NEED During a Snow Storm

Many people are already knee-deep in snow (even friends from Atlanta have been sending me their snow pictures!). While we had some snow here today, we are expecting maybe six inches or more of the white stuff tomorrow. Here's ten items I always have on hand for snow:

  1. Tire chains. My rule is not to drive in the snow because, well, I don't have to. But there is always the possibility that an emergency could come up and I would have to drive on the road with all of the other maniacs with *cough* four-wheel drive *cough* so having chains is a definitely necessity. So is avoiding people with four wheel drives who don't know how to drive them in the snow. Just sayin...
  2. A snow shovel. If you have ever tried to shovel snow with a garden shovel, you will understand why a shovel made specifically for snow is a necessity.

  3. A kerosene heater which is my preferred alternate heating system aside from the fireplace. Snow usually goes with ice which usually goes with trees falling down which usually goes with power lines going down.
  4. Cold weather gear. Whether I choose to go out in the snow or not, I still like having insulated boots, gloves, a parka, and a hat on hand. When I used to drive in mountainous areas I would keep a set of these items in my vehicle as well because it could be sunny in the lowlands and pouring snow in the mountains.

  5. An ice scraper for my vehicle's windshield. I use this about four months out of the year so it is a necessity and works better than the credit card my neighbor uses.

  6. Insulation for pipes that could freeze. I also put those little bell insulation cups on my exterior faucets. If you've ever had a pipe freeze and burst you know how important it is and how much less of a hassle it is to prepare ahead of time to keep your pipes from freezing.

  7. Basic survival supplies in your home and car: flashlights, extra batteries, portable radio, charged cell phones, ready-to-eat food, matches, candles, blankets, etc. Again, if there is a power outage or your are stranded in your car, you need to be prepared to feed, entertain, and take care of yourself for a while.

  8. A list of resources. Depending on your situation, you may need to know where local warming shelters are (call 211), know how to acquire prescription meds/extra oxygen/etc during a storm, know where to call with help to keep your electricity/gas on even if you can't pay the bill (call 211), have the emergency numbers for your electric/gas/water company in case you have an emergency and can't look the numbers up online, know what radio stations to listen to for emergency information, etc. Note that you should gather this information prior to the storm.

  9. Basic supplies for everyday living. During most major storms everything from gas stations to grocery stores may be closed. If you read this blog you probably have a pretty good stockpile of stuff, but I am always amazed when they show people on the news running out to stores ahead of the storm trying to buy everything from blankets to toilet paper to diapers to milk to generators. Again, prepare prior to a storm. You should have enough supplies in your home right now to stay put in your home for a week even without any advanced warning.

  10. A couple of bags of sand or kitty litter. This stuff comes in handy for a number of things, namely providing traction if your car is stuck in the snow, making your driveway and walkways less slippery, or even for adding weight to the back of your truck.

That's it. With these supplies you should be able to weather any storm.

p.s. Should you choose to go out/are required to go out during a big snow storm, I highly recommend an emergency locator beacon. No of these could save your life in certain circumstances.


  1. Code Name Insight,

    I have used kitty litter as a traction aid. It turns into mud the moment it gets wet. Coarse sand is better.


    Don't forget the fire extinguisher especially if "the plan" includes using candles for lighting during a power outage.


    A good list and (no pun intended) some good insight. Thanks

  2. That's a good list. I, too, am amazed by the last minute runs people make to the grocery store. Plus, you can count on the localnews telling how the hardware stores are low on, or out of, shovels, salt, etc.
    BTW, you're right on about having the right shovel for snow.