Thursday, February 7, 2019

Snowstorm Preps for the Unprepared

My former city, Seattle, is about to get walloped by a major snowstorm.  And by "major snowstorm" I mean more than an inch or two of snow as the city is very hilly and very temperate, and very unused to major snowfall.  If you live in the area--or any area for that matter where snow is rare yet the forecast is warning of a major snowstorm--here are some preps for the unprepared:

  • Stay home.  Really, just stay home, the roads will be buried in snow and ice and getting a plow or sanding truck through will be next to impossible on many roads once deep snow starts to accumulate.
  • Listen to the weather reports.  Forecasters are pretty accurate these days so if they say snow will start falling at 2pm, they mean it (in that case, be home by 1pm).
  • Stock up on food and supplies at least a week before the storm is set to hit (half of the city will be in the stores the evening/morning of the snow event and the shelves will be cleared in no time).
  • Make sure you have a plan for elderly and medically fragile family members--fill prescriptions early if possible so they won't run out, get a few more tanks of oxygen to have in reserve, realize that calling 911 in the midst of a major storm doesn't mean they will be able to get to you in a timely fashion, etc.
  • Prepare for power outages.  It's pretty much a given that when snow and ice is in the forecast, falling power lines won't be far behind.  It usually isn't if but when the power will go out so learn what to do to prepare for this situation.
  • See if you can tele-commute when the weather is bad.  Some businesses may be closed, some businesses may allow you to work from home, and for some people in critical job positions, you will get to go to work anyway so figure out how you will do this (some cities have emergency plans to have transport provided for critical staff).  If you will be at work, bring your BOB in case you can't get home for a few days.
  • And some other preps: dress in layers, make only short trips outside, be careful shoveling snow if you are unused to doing this (it's a common cause of heart attacks), know how to prevent/treat frostbite and hypothermia, have plenty of things (books, games, a full Kindle) to keep everyone in the family entertained, have a backup heat source (like a kerosene or propane stove, vented of course), prep for your pets and other animals, etc.

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