Winter Storm Preparation
Winter storms occur when the temperature is low enough that precipitation forms as sleet/snow, or rain turns to ice. They can make roads and walkways dangerous and can close or limit important community services. The term winter storm covers a variety of weather conditions, from freezing rain and ice to a moderate snowfall, to a blizzard. In any of these cases, here’s how to remain safe during the storm.
Before the storm
There is a fair bit you can do before the storm to prepare. Here is what you should do to prepare before the storm hits.
Go to the grocery store
In addition to the normal scramble to get bread, milk, and eggs, there are a few other things that you should add to your cart while shopping for a storm. They include:
- Peanut butter
- Canned soups and chili
- Bottle water. If your power goes out, bottled water is a great way to remain hydrated, wash any fruits or vegetables, and to wash your body. You can also purchase gallon jugs of water as well.
- Protein bars
- Nuts, trail mix, and dried fruit
- Canned tuna
- Dry cereals
Prepare your home
Before a winter storm hits, make sure your home is well insulated and that your windows and doors have weather stripping around them. This keeps the cold air outside and the warm air inside. You may also want to install storm windows as an extra precaution. If you don’t have time to install new windows, consider covering your windows with plastic from the inside to act as an extra barrier to the cold. Make sure that your carbon monoxide detectors are functioning and that everyone in the house knows how to use a fire extinguisher.
If you have a wood burning fireplace, consider moving some wood inside so you can burn it to keep you warm. Your chimney should be inspected to ensure that it can function properly before you use it. In addition to the wood for a fireplace, make sure to stock up on additional sources of heat such as extra blankets, sleeping bags, and winter coats.
Prepare your vehicle
Create an emergency kit that is specifically designed for your car. Some items to include are portable phone charger, an extra blanket, an ice scraper, sand for traction, and jumper cables. You should also make sure that your gas tank is at least half full.
- If you have any outdoor pets, bring them inside
- Be sure to check on any elderly neighbors or relatives
- Keep a gallon container of water in the freezer to keep food cold
- Have an emergency charging option for your cell phone in case power goes out
During the storm
Try to stay inside during the storm. If you must drive, make sure to take extreme precaution and don’t travel alone.
When outside, wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing instead of one layer of heavy clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Wear mittens, a hat, and cover your mouth with a scarf to reduce heat loss. If your clothes get wet, get changed as soon as possible. Wet clothing loses all its insulating value.
If shoveling, avoid overexertion. Take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting whenever possible, and lift lighter loads.
After the storm
Listen to any local news or radio stations for information concerning road closures and other such information. Avoid driving until these conditions have been cleared.