Preparing For A Major Winter Snowstorm


Here is a list of things you might do while preparing for a major winter snowstorm or blizzard…


Food Supply At Home And In Your Vehicle

Don’t be one of those in the crowd of panicked sheeple who are shoulder-to-shoulder in the grocery store the day before or hours before the snowstorm buying milk, bread, eggs, and beer… While most people have enough food in their home to last at least a few days, double-check your consumables in advance of others clearing out the grocery store shelves of milk and bread, etc.

Note: During a major snowstorm, the electricity may go out. To prolong the foods in your chest freezer (if you have one), cover it with blankets. It will probably be fine for 24 to 48 hours if you don’t open it (will stay frozen longer if it’s full).

You should ALWAYS have some food in your vehicle (as in, 72-hour emergency kit). At a minimum, keep a number of food bars (typically 200-calories each) in case you’re stranded or delayed in bad weather. In theory, 10 of these would be enough calories for a day’s survival for one person


If you know that you are nearing a prescription refill, it is better to think ahead and take care of that before a winter snowstorm restricts travel.

Flashlights and Batteries

The power may likely go out for awhile (or longer). Do you have enough flashlights? Do they work? Do you need more batteries? Do you have a flashlight in your vehicle?
The Fenix HP25 Headlamp And Why I Chose It
Rayovac Sportsman LED Lantern
A ‘Best’ Flashlight?
(There are so, so many – just have one…)

Portable Radio

Again, the power might go out. Having a battery operated portable AM/FM/Shortwave radio is imperative for when the power goes out. It will become your source for information from the outside world.
3 Best Portable Emergency Radios

Weather Radio

A battery powered public alert weather radio is good all year round for all severe weather. During the winter you will be alerted to winter storm watches, warnings and forecasts.
Midland WR120C Weather Radio with ‘SAME’ technology

Portable Emergency Heater

Most home heating systems will not operate if the power goes out. It is VERY important to consider an alternative means of keeping warm in your home.

During the winter, the immediate concern will be heat. This particular heater will safely and effectively provide heat for a room. You will have bigger problems if the outdoor temperature remains consistently below freezing while at the same time the power outage lasts much longer than a day (pipes will begin to freeze and may rupture), but this heater will provide a first level of defense for a short term survival situation.
Mr. Heater Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Radiant Heater

Related article: ‘Mr. Heater Buddy’ for Winter Survival Preparedness

Cold Weather Sleeping Bag

If the power goes out, a good cold weather sleeping bag will keep you warmer than just in bed with blankets. Lots to pick from… Check temperature ratings…
Related article: Survival Kit Sleeping Bag

Best Warmest Blankets

Do you have warm blankets at home? It is also advisable to keep a good warm blanket in your vehicle during the winter.
The Warmest Survival Blanket – Wool Or Polar Fleece?

Portable Stove For Cooking

Without electricity, if you want to cook or percolate some coffee, a portable cook stove will get it done. I have several types of portable cook stoves including the following, which happens to run on butane. A nice little ‘solid’ stove to set on a counter without the pan tipping over.
GASONE Portable Gas Stove

Check Your Generator

Assuming that you already have a generator, check it, run it. Have enough gasoline? Has the gasoline been treated with STA-BIL or PRI-G?

Fill Your Gas Tank

Always keep your vehicle’s gas tank closer to FULL than EMPTY, especially during the winter. If you become stuck in the snow or entangled in a clogged traffic situation, a full tank will ensure that your vehicle’s heater keeps running! (as well as the vehicle itself)

Sub-Zero Windshield Washer Fluid

Top off your windshield washer fluid. If you’ve ever run out of it while driving in a snowstorm – you know how bad it can be… Get the kind of fluid that’s rated for below zero-degrees! Otherwise it will freeze and won’t spray on your windshield when you need it the most. Check the label.

Do Not Drive Without Proper Cold-Weather Clothing / Gear

Often times people will hop in their car to go somewhere (from one heated location to another) without fully gearing up. If you ever get into a jam, you will be happy to have proper winter gloves, boots, hat, jacket, etc…


Enjoy’ Mother Nature’

When all is said and done, sit back and enjoy the forces of nature while looking out your window ;)

I welcome your further thoughts and advice to share with others about specifically preparing for a winter snowstorm..

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  1. After growing up in New England, I did a stint in the Military in tropical climes. Coming back home, I realized that there was a much easier, better way to live. So I traveled just about as far South in the USA as I could possibly go, and planted myself there. Never once did I regret that move. Enjoy watching the northern storms on TV now.

    1. Sounds like my story. Joined the army in 77 just to get out of New England. I’ve lived Louisiana ever since. My winter preparedness is taking off my shorts and flip flops and putting on pants and sneakers with socks. I hate winter!

    2. DeepSouth, In your military travels to tropical areas, I’m sure you must have had typhoon evac’s to take care and prepare for, while not the same as a blizzard, still packs a punch.

  2. I live in a hurricane zone
    one thing I like about this whole “prepping” movement
    is that I am ready for a hurricane in July or ready for one in January !

    and when it comes to “Portable Emergency Heaters” don’t forget cats and dogs !

    cats have a body temp that can be as high as 102 degrees
    one of mine likes to sleep on my feet,the other likes to crawl under the blankets and sleep next to me
    can’t beat them for staying warm !

  3. We have lived on 3 corners of the US [Seattle, Miami, Boston areas]. We learned quickly after not really being prepared for the first “Tropical Storm” in Fl. to be ready. We moved to Boston area. We were there only a few months. We thought we left hurricanes behind only to find one chasing up the East Coast with a direct projected hit for our area. We didn’t waste any time getting ready. My husband’s brother had recently moved in with us from Seattle. He kept saying whatever the radio said. Oh well it won’t be bad and laughed at us for getting ready so early. When the radio said “It is coming” he came home in a panic. We said don’t worry we are already ready. We learned then that it is important to know your regions disasters quickly and be prepared.

  4. We’re in the Shenandoah Valley and from what we are now told, the worst of the storm will be in this region. We’re at the ready anyway but having 2 feet of new snow means clearing paths and taking snow off of roofs (the greenhouse and RV) at some point. If we lose power, we can run off of a jenny to keep the freezer and fridge running. Our woodstove will keep us warm. We have plenty of ways to cook foods without electricity and plenty of foods to eat, water to drink, water for livestock, etc.

    Can’t say the same for the majority of our neighbors though. In 2009 we had a blizzard and were out of power for almost 5 days. Most here had no heat and being on wells, they had no water. With those low temps and no heat in the homes, some had burst pipes. Can’t say I’ve seen a single neighbor switch their lifestyle a bit because there haven’t been any flues added, new stacked wood piles, or changed heating systems (as in new propane tanks). We just shake our heads. You can’t fix stupid and there’s no point trying. They’re all on their own…

    1. Hey Modern,

      Keep us posted on how it goes for you.
      I completely agree with you on having alternatives for heat, cooking, water etc…Living as sustained-ly as possible has great rewards.

      We’re in Western PA (not an inch predicted) but have family in Lancaster/Philly area, supposed to get a lot of snow too.

      It hasn’t been above 20 in about a week. We have a lovely wood stove on the main floor radiating the most wonderful heat.
      My three cats all like to lay around it! :)

      The Good Shepherd bless you and all
      Peace n Out :)

      1. All of the counties in these parts closed for the day/weekend. The Fed govt was letting out at noon, I think. Lots of commuters will jam the roads, for sure. Glad we’re not going anywhere. Anyone traveling — godspeed to you.

        It is just before noon and the snow began a few minutes ago. Yesterday afternoon, I cooked a ham to hold us over for a while. As luck would have it, we were curing one of our pork roasts anyway. Just a bit ago, I pulled a cake out of the oven. So let-us-eat-cake! ;-)

        Yesterday evening, got to meet our Quarter Horse, fresh in from Colorado. She’s even nicer than we thought and my granddaughter has already bonded to her. It was love at first sight — I haven’t seen that kind of animal connection too often, but there it was. The mare is being held at another farm while the other 2 horses are off-loaded to their new owners. We are so excited to be getting this mare but we won’t see her again until the roads clear. No riding for a few days but the shovels and a free snowblower that came our way 2 years ago are at-the-ready.

        We’ve got a few lousy days ahead for the goats. They hate wet hooves…

    2. Your RV will easily handle 2 feet. I don’t get worried until it hits 4 feet. If you climb on the roof you could cause more damage. If you do decide to clean your roof be careful of the sky lights I found out that they break easy. If anything put a tarp over your RV.

      1. Hi oldalaskan.
        Yes, we’re aware of putting our weight on the RV’s roof. We have a tarp covering the roof but like to keep excess moisture off of the top because we had to replace the entire roof after the RV was only a few years old because of a manufacturer’s building flaw around the sun-windows.

  5. This time of year I buy extra milk and other refrigerated foods as we can now utilize the two coolers that we keep on the deck. It’s like having an extra refrigerator. I always have an extra weeks worth of milk still on hand when we go grocery shopping. That way if our shopping day falls right before a storm, we don’t worry about empty shelves at the store. Or if we think that people will be crazy, we just hold off until the next week.

  6. Being prepared means nothing much to worry about before a winter storm comes.

    I acquired all I needed long ago or during the course of the year replacing things I used up.

    I have a plow guy ready
    a 4 wheel drive truck with new battery
    a roof rake and 2 shovels
    backup lighting extra batteries/oil.
    camping stove w/3 propane tanks
    Food for the dogs and myself and possible stranded guests
    Plenty of Hudson Bay and Witney wool blankets being a former distributor
    Emergency supplies for truck and blankets/flares
    Emergency portable weather radio
    Snowmobile suit for 40 below F and boots
    efficient wood burning stove
    wood for two heating seasons
    Chainsaw for downed trees and limbs
    Water storage
    Pair of snowshoes
    House insurance/truck insurance for snow or tree damage
    Long johns and wool socks
    Water release valve and hose to drain to keep pipes from bursting when power is out.
    Portable potty
    A body that still works well
    and wine by candlelight.
    Bring it on…

      1. NRP, :-) Home made Chokecherry wine. My dogs love it when I get howling on the floor with them.

          1. NRP, S-dust……

            I have discovered that the most difficult item to NOT rotate has been the ‘grape juice’. (i.e., Vino) I seem to ‘rotate’ it more than anything else. But, that does keep a fresh supply on hand. My two K-9s do appreciate my selections for preparedness. Yes, I do share, some.

            RE: Storm Preparedness. I used to have concerns for those that were not prepared for just about anything. Now…..not my job to ensure they have their heads pulled out of their……uh….yeah, you know. If they aren’t prepared, they aren’t prepared. I am. I will not be hungry for quite a while. They might be….but not me. That might be a tad on the self-centered side, but I am covering my butt….if ‘they’ can’t cover their own……tough. They can suck on rocks.

          2. @LayingLow
            Agreed. All I want to know is, what DA decided to use 750ml bottles for “grape juice “? I mean com-on-man what’s that all about? Hardly enough to wet the whistle :-)

        1. @Stardust; I got some of that home-made chokecherry wine for Christmas a few years ago from the U.P. of Michigan. WOW! That stuff was great. I can understand howling on the floor with the dogs! LOL

        2. You do that too, Stardust? LOL….Do you crane your neck and get your head into position like the dogs? (I do!) I’ve now gotten our dogs trained to howl on command and lately they do it right before their evening meal. Hubby does NOT think it’s funny but we outnumber him. :-)

    1. @Stardust and other wine (o’s) lovers, A friend of mine posted this on facebook this week. So I can’t take credit for it.

      “I rescued some wine today, it was trapped in a bottle!” yep, me too :)

      1. @ Beach’n
        HAHAHAHA, I love it!!!!
        Think I hear some wine crying out as I type…. LOLOL
        FYI, doctors say that drinking a glass of red wine is good for you and healthy, thinking I’m very very healthy LOL, also they did not say what size glass, right? And again what’s this stuff about 750ML bottles? I mean after all, what a waste of glass making them so small.
        Actually not that bad of a wino here, just talk.

        1. @NRP, I know, you’re just a julep-“O” :) Fun talkin’ to you again! Luv ya’ll Beach’n

          1. @ Beach’n
            Yeah your right, in summer, but now it’s Hot-Buttered-Rum

  7. RE: Portable Stove For Cooking.
    For the first time I recently tried out one of those alcohol burner type deals you can get with a Fondue pot and support stand, It worked really good. I test burned a shot glass full of Bacardi 151 and it lasted about a half hour at high heat and brought 1/2 qt. of water to a boil. On the second go around it wouldn’t boil a full qt. of water but it warmed it up good.
    Having a natural gas oven and water heater isn’t a bad thing to already have, either. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to stay in my old place when the power was out for a week in Winter, EVen With a Mr. Buddy Heater.

    RE: “If you become stuck in the snow or entangled in a clogged traffic situation, a full tank will ensure that your vehicle’s heater keeps running!”
    That is, IF you’re car is already warmed up. When it gets really cold outside your car might not get warmed up by the time you hit that traffic jam – or – if you sit still long enough your heater no longer produces heat while running at idle. Three potential solutions; use a 12 volt plug-in type heater, pack some of those packaged hand warmers that seem to be on every sporting goods shelf, although; I have yet to test out how well those hand warmers work. And, maybe have one of those older type hand warmers which look like a large Zippo lighter.

    I never though of cats and dogs as“Portable Emergency Heaters” Satori, thanks for pointing that out. Maybe someday I’ll be lucky enough to have one or two.

    @DeepSouth, one of the pluses about The Northland, from a stupid poem I once read that’s not entirely accurate, but close enough:

    In the Winter,
    the flies,
    they all dies.

    Those tiny nasty hard-biting no-see-ums, too.

  8. Thanks Ken, as always. We’re ready.
    I especially like how you said to not forget to enjoy it. I plan on doing that as well! My daughter loves the snow. And the dogs are hilarious in the snow. (Will be an adjustment when we move south) but our aching bones will appreciate I’m sure!
    I’m glad we’re getting the storm on a Saturday. We are about 40 minutes from Philly in NJ. Should get about a foot.
    We’re on a well, but we have four 55 gallon drums of potable water in the house, plus at least 50 more gallons of drinking water in jugs. And a boatload of water in buckets (in the shower downstairs) to use for flushing the toilet.
    And I made some big meals already so we’ll have ready made meals.
    We finished bringing in a bunch of wood into the garage.
    We have it all stacked in the driveway with tarps over it, but it’s not fun trying to get to it when there’s a foot of snow on it!
    Luckily our front porch is big, so we have a bunch there, and we have a whole area in the garage dedicated for wood. We put pallets down and stack it there. Got lots of mice traps in there too. Isn’t a problem.

  9. I love the snow. Six feet of snow is awesome. Blizzards are fun to go out in. I moved a few years from the mountains where we got snow up to the eves and we had to shovel the roof to the valley where it just rains. Today the temperature was about 55 and light rain. Typical Willamette Valley winter. We were even painting the house today. I miss the snow, we may move back to the mountains.

  10. Well we expect winter from Nov.1 to March 31 & then maybe some so it seems like we prep all year long. When winter is over before the snow blower goes away it is gone over and any needed fixes done. Then is fall DH gives it another check just to make sure he didn’t miss something in the spring. Of course we live many miles from repair shops to get parts so we don’t want to be looking for a part with a blizzard breathing down our neck. Candles, oil lamps, flashlight just part of the decor. Generator, yep 2 of them a big one & a small one that is easy to move on a hand pulled sled, food, a garden that supplies all our veg & most of our fruit, neighbour supplied beef & pork by the side, wheat for bread & cookies from a neighbour, wood burning stove & 3 yrs wood in shed so why would we need to go out in a pre storm situation.

    Off topic DH went to town the other day so I asked him to get milk. He also came home with bananas & 6 oranges. When I looked at the bill I knew why |I like to grow lots of tomatoes. The oranges were just under $2 a piece. They were a nice size & a nice treat but with our $ under 70 cents I’m sure glad my freezers, & canning jars were all full when gardening season was over. Enjoy the snow every in the snow zone.

  11. Both my hubby and I have grown up in the country all our lives and live here still. We get PLENTY of snow up here living by the big pond (aka Lake Michigan), so preparedness is a way of life with us. It does help to have family right next door and around the area – we all keep up with preps and take care of our own. Love having family close!

  12. Love snow and the more the better. We don’t mind being snowed in and have plenty of firewood to keep us warm, food to eat, homemade wine, blankets, and games to play.
    Moved to the Nebraska panhandle about two years ago from the Annapolis, Maryland area and miss the snowstorms of the mid Atlantic.

  13. I miss snow-cream. My Dad used to fill big bowls with fresh snow and mix with condensed milk, sugar and vanilla. Poor man’s ice-cream…ahh good memory. Enjoy some snow-cream for me ya’ll! Stay safe and warm! Beach’n

  14. Love winter. we usually see our first snow here in CO before Halloween and our last snow some time around Mothers day. Bring in the Hay by August and let her rip! Small snows, we actually sit and watch the grass grow. Good nitrogen.

    Being prepared is a way of life. Always ready. Kids in the DC area say it is bizarre…they moved to DC in July after years of being prepared in Michigan! Daughter says everyone is acting stupid….closed schools for one inch of snow that was gone by 10 am!!! After Michigan, she knows how to deal…..laughing alot.

    Be safe all. Sure enjoy our blog and Ken’s food for thought.

  15. Where we live we don’t have to worry about snowstorms, blizzards,etc. We only worry about hurricanes and tornadoes. Had a tornado drop down just a few miles east of us. Killed 2 people and injured a few kids. Horrible thing.

    I lived in Illinois, Colorado and Michigan and the only thing I miss about snow is the skiing. Really miss the slopes.

    I do remember when I was younger we moved from FL to MI and it was cold and a lot of snow. I remember the 79 blizzard that hit us we had just moved out of town and our VW bug had no heat. Mom and Dad kept us fed no power loss that I can remember and the best part was jumping off our back deck (which was about 20′ from the ground) we landed in snow drifts. It was a blast.

    You all up north be safe and I know you will be fine. Just a small bump in the road for you that have prepared. Those others who haven’t prepared. Oh well. You can lead a horse to water…..

    Adapt and Overcome.

  16. A few years back we were visiting some friends in Las Vegas when it snowed there. Weird to see palm trees with snow on them. It was quite cold for Vegas and our friends who are LDS invited us to go out to pass out blankets and jackets to the homeless.

    I remember us coming up to homeless folks who had made triangular tents about 2′ tall out of cardboard refrigerator boxes. They closed off 1 end and used a towel on the other end to cover it. They crawled feet first in and then closed the end. They said after awhile they had to open the end to let some coolness in as they got too warm.

    It was a great idea. I tried it when we got home. It worked real well. A great idea if ya lost power/heat and you didn’t have enough sleeping bags for everyone..Set it up inside your living room. Just another idea outside of the box. The homeless find clever ways to survive.

    1. Man, Bill Jenkins Horse, that’s some of the best ‘keeping warm’ advice I’ve ever read. Better than a tent in the house, even. IMHO.

      I tried to pitch in my two cents about keeping warm but it seems to have been eaten by the ether and wound up in a different kind of box, somewhere. Like a lost cat, maybe it’ll turn up around here, someday?

      RE:’Just another idea outside of the box.’
      Lately I’ve been thinking that’s a marker for a target. Enough so, I don’t even wanna say nothin’ anymore. We’re surrounded by Vipers, and wolves in sheep’s clothing.

      1. Helot, I know what you mean. I had an epic rant from the weekend free for all 2 weeks ago that got lost in the ethers. Wish people could of read it. I referenced some books that are brutal to read. The type that change you after you read them. I might try again this weekend to re-post.
        Vipers and wolves for sure! And Helot,I know EXACTLY what you meant at the end of your post. Perilous times for sure for free thinking people.

        1. “In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind lest they find themselves ostracized or placed under surveillance.” …

  17. NBC’s Savannah Guthrie commented this morning right after a segment on NBC about there being a run on food and water. “What would you even consider necessities?” “Beer?” Then she “giggles”. These smartest people in the world make me squint with their stupidity. If something happens to the Pizza Delivery guy they are doomed.

    1. Shootit,that’s hilarious!I can picture them walking aimlessly clutching a long empty pizza box looking like something out of the walking dead!!LOL

  18. occurs to me that Sno Load on roofs might be a significant concern.

    Someone has suggested to me (no idea if it is feasible), to make a very long “rope ladder” (sort of)…two very long pieces of rope, with two or three two by fours parallel close to middle. Throw this over your roof (might work if it is a one story), before the snow hits and every so often go out and with one person on each side pull it back and forth, to keep snow load down.

    1. NO NO NO Here I don’t get to worried until the snow is 50 to 60 inches deep. I wont climb on the roof until it hits 80 to 100 inches. We have shovels called “Roof Shovels” big rounded scoops about 3′ wide with a big handle. Scoop the snow and allow inertia swing the shovel down the roof and the snow slides right off with little effort. Just be careful of the driveway or sidewalks why make more work for yourself. Last time I did this was about 20 years ago and my youngest son was on the roof with me. His mother came out and started to scream to get down so I told him that there was enough snow in the yard to jump. He did the wife screamed, the kid got out of the snow pile laughing and climbed the ladder to do it again. Dam the house was cold that night.

    2. One year when I was a kid my Dad made a big T with PVC (handle was probably twenty feet long). Lifted the T part up to the peak of the roof and just pulled it all down. Slid right off the edge.

      1. we talked about something like that/or roof rakes, but wondered about all that snow hitting one on the head. Have to be quick to jump out of way.

        if one had the rope, and even one two by four, and two people, could make regular trips out to give it a pull. Might be easier/safer.

  19. That’s an interesting idea. I would give it a try, but I don’t think I have enough rope on hand.

    1. They make these commercially they are called roof rakes. A royal pain in the **** to use on a two story house. Expect to get a bunch of snow on you if you can get them to work. A lot of hard work. The handles came in three sections and were aluminum. Mine are in the garden holing string for the peas o grow on.

  20. just read this, hard to believe, but maybe this is why folks were lined up buying shovels? Maybe it was previously illegal for them to shovel?

    In advance of big storm, New Jersey lifts licensing laws for shoveling snow

    Just days ahead of an expected blizzard on the East Coast, New Jersey has officially repealed a nonsensical rule banning the shoveling of snow without a license.

    1. Is this for real?! You cannot shovel snow in New Jersey without a license from the government?!!

      …now I think I’ve heard it all. If a citizenry actually accepts something that ridiculous – then we are surely doomed (and sadly there are lots of other reasons too). OMG.

      1. yes, Ken, for real. I read it this morning in some online news article.

        Hopefully it is one of those archaic laws which never got squished (something like you cannot drag a dead horse down main street on a Sunday, etc), but don’t know. Didn’t save the page, surely stupid.

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