Thursday, January 17, 2019

Preparing for a Massive Snow Storm

Apparently some of you will be seeing 40 inches of snow in the next few days or so.  That's A LOT of snow and a very dangerous situation to be in.  If you haven't prepared yet, you don't have much time but there are several things you can do to get ready:

  • Stockpile food, water, and supplies (like toilet paper, diapers if you have a small child, etc).  You probably won't be able to make it to a store that will be open when the worst of the storm hits.
  • Stay home if at all possible.  Driving will be extraordinarily dangerous.
  • If you must be out and about, be sure your vehicle is prepared with a full tank of gas, adequate supplies, chains, and an emergency kit.  But really, just stay home, even snow plows have a hard time getting through such deep snow.
  • If it will be dangerous to stay home (someone has severe medical issues, for example), evacuate ahead of the storm.  Ideally you could fly out of the storm's path and stay with friends or family until the storm is over.  This way, if there is a medical crisis, the person will have easier access to medical care.  Always keep enough prescription medication on hand to cover an extended period of time when pharmacies may be closed.
  • Plan for a long-term power outage (between the snow storm and the ice storm that is set to follow, power lines will probably come down).  If you have a generator, have plenty of extra fuel.  Stack up fire wood near to the house if you have a wood stove which could be used for cooking and heating.
  • Have a plan for your pets and farm animals to keep them safe, warm, dry, fed, and watered throughout the storm.
  • If your home isn't safe to be in during the storm or you cannot prepare adequately, call now to find out where your town/city/county warming shelters will be and how to access them.
  • Have plenty of warm clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, flashlights, extra batteries, a battery-operated radio, etc. on hand.
  • Have all of your electronics (cell phones, tablets, laptops, battery banks, etc) fully charged before the storm hits.
  • If you must go outside (to check on animals or the neighbors or your property) try not to do this during the worst of the storm or during blizzard/white out conditions and always watch for downed power lines (you may not be able to see them in the snow so be aware).  Also, know what hypothermia and frostbite are and how to avoid/treat these conditions.
  • Protect your pipes from freezing ahead of the cold weather.  When temperatures drop below freezing, let the water drip from each faucet to keep the water circulating (this won't work if you have a well and the power goes out).  Know where the main water shut off is in case of burst pipes.
  • Make one room of your house the "warm room" which you keep heated (with a portable stove or wood stove), where you can block off with blankets to keep heat from escaping out windows or down hallways, and where everyone can "camp out" to stay warm.
  • Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning (don't use combustion appliances for heating, be sure that generators and portable heaters are adequately vented, and make sure your CO detector is working).
  • Always watch or listen to local news for more area-specific warnings and guidance from local authorities.
Read more on winter storm preparedness here, here, here, and here.

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