Winter Storm Preparedness


When there are forecasts of a winter storm bearing down on you, remember this… BEFORE the winter storm hits, check the following winter weather preparedness items for your home and your vehicle…

This short list should be a general reminder of things for you to think about BEFORE a winter storm strikes. In no way is this list all-inclusive (it would take a book), and in fact this list is quite minimal. If you’re interested, there are many additional articles to be found within our blog regarding preparedness, preps, and being better prepared.

Food Supply
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.

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.

Medicinal Needs
If you know that you are nearing a prescription refill, it is better to take care of that before a winter storm.

Flashlights and Batteries
Check your flashlights that they work. Do you need more batteries? Do you have a flashlight in your vehicle?
LED Lantern technology
Best Rechargeable Batteries

Portable AM/FM Radio
Having a battery operated portable AM/FM/Shortwave radio is imperative for when the power goes out. It will become your source to information from the outside world.
Best Cheap Portable Radio
Best Portable AM/FM/Shortwave Radio

Weather Radio
A public alert weather radio is good all year round for all severe weather. During the winter you will be alerted to winter storm watches and warnings, and more…
NOAA Weather Radio Basics

Portable Emergency Heater
Most home heating systems will not operate if the power goes out. It is prudent to consider an alternative means of keeping warm in your home.
Mr. Heater Buddy

Sleeping Bag
If the power goes out, it would do you well to have a decent sleeping bag, which will keep you warmer than just in bed with blankets. Lots to pick from… Check temperature ratings…
Queen Size Sleeping Bag

Coffee Percolator
Creature comforts are important too. If you are like most people and you drink coffee in the morning, about the only way you’re going to get that cup of coffee when the power goes out is with a percolator (along with a portable camp stove to heat it).
Coffee Percolator

Portable Cook Stove
Without power, a portable camp stove will allow you to heat food, etc. Check for safety issues regarding cooking indoors. Some are deemed safe, while others are not.
Portable Gas Stove

Do you have warm blankets at home? It is also important to keep a blanket to wrap around you in your vehicle during the winter.
The Warmest Survival Blanket

Road Flares
Should you get ditched in a snow drift or an unfortunate accident, a series of road flares will greatly increase visibility and caution for other drivers. You can find these at auto-parts stores and other stores…

Snow Shovels
I know this is pretty obvious. But don’t forget to keep a snow shovel in your vehicle! They make all sizes and shapes, so find one that will fit in your trunk.

Ice Melter
There are several types of ‘road salt’ for melting ice. There are also specific varieties that are pet-safe (won’t hurt their paws). Keep some at home, and a small bag in your trunk of the vehicle. Kitty litter works well for temporary traction.

Ice Scraper
Just be sure that you remember to put it in your vehicle. I would get a new one each year because the plastic blade tends to chip after a bit of usage and will not always do as good a job on the window the following winter.

Windshield Washer Fluid
Get the kind that is good to below zero-degrees! Otherwise it will freeze and won’t spray on your windshield when you need it the most. Check the label.

Fill Your Tank
Always keep your gas tank closer to FULL than EMPTY, especially during the winter.

The point is to run through an overview of what you might need BEFORE a winter storm hits. The big thing is to plan for an assumption that you may lose power. This is where it gets most dangerous (other than the dangers of driving during a winter storm). Be safe.

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  1. As far as coffee, we don’t have a percolator. What we did was just boil water in a saucepan with the coffee added into the water, then strained the whole thing through a filter lined colander. Crude but effective. What we wont do for coffee.

    1. And then there’s always ‘Instant’, which although not as good as fresh dripped – etc., it’s better than nothing ;)

      I’ll make percolated before instant though…

      Your simple coffee brew method is practical – good idea when other means aren’t available.

      1. Instant? OMG! I’ll do that only after crawling out of the desert. Probably be met by a man on a horse offering me a peanut butter sandwich.

        Consider getting a french press. Works for tea or coffee.

        Add water, makes its own sauce. The last from Frank Zappa.

          1. I use them. Know of any good hand operated coffee grinders? A press wants a coarse grind.

          1. I have two of them. In different sizes. Kroger had them on sale. ‘bodum’ was the brand name. Others at work seem quite happy with other brands. Being made of glass they could be broken. I wonder if any are made of stainless steel?

          2. I don’t know anything about a French press, but a coffee percolator needs a course grind, too. Even the older store grinders such as Kroger grinds the beans too fine. Fine grind, not only puts grounds in your cup, but, you get the bitter oils from the coffee. A good cast iron coffee grinder can be adjusted for coarseness. It can also be passed down to the next generation. I know this article isn’t about coffee, but just boil the coffee grounds, toss egg shells into the boil, the coffee grounds will settle to the bottom. Cowboy coffee!

  2. Yep, you betcha, coffee comes in high on the list. We do have instant, but we also have bags of beans for that delicious perked coffee. We always have a kettle of hot water on the wood stove, mainly for humidity purposes, but its ready for coffee or hot chocolate for the younger folks. Its the small things that make you smile on those days. Just being prepared makes you have a smile, ear to ear!

  3. All this article does is remind me of growing up on the farm in SD in the 50’and 60’s. We lived at the end of the electrical line and it would be any wheres from 2 to 4 days with out electricity. It was no big problem, Mom and Dad had a wood burner in the kitchen along with a gas range for cooking and a oit stove in the front room and for water we would go out side to the cistern and bucket the water as we needed it and we had the old fashioned out house 30 yds away.Milking was a little more involved, yes we had a electric powered milk machine, but when the electric went out, dad would hook up the old “46” ford tractor with the vacuum advance on it and keep on milking ( just one bucket instead of 3 and it would take most of the day, but it got the job done). Now adays, 50 some yr later, it is a whole different ball game, my wife doesn’t like cooking on a gas range or wood burner, she wants the cistern filled in because it is a safety hazard for the grandkids. but we still do a large garden and a lot of canning and we do our own wild game processing ( deer, pheasants etc,etc). And we are both closer to 70 than we are anything else and I do not want to think about maybe moving back to town for any reason.

  4. After the recent ice storm we had in Dallas I purchased two other things we don’t normally need: 1) tire chains; 2) ice cleats (for shoes). Both were needed this time.

    1. Tire chains are unheard of anymore. Most people are too lazy to take precautions with chains. I used to put them on when I got to my turn off and took them off the next day when leaving. I still have a pair but, nothing is that important anymore. To recklessly go out in bad weather and cause unknown damage to your vehicle and maybe your life. The four wheel drive sure takes the toll out of fighting the snow and ice.

      1. Four-wheel-drive certainly is a BIG help, however drivers beware that when it comes to ICE, it doesn’t help much.

        You make a good general point about simply not going out during bad weather. If you have to commute to work… that’s mostly unavoidable. However if you’re prepared with supplies, then there should be no reason that you have to go out…

      1. I use Kahtoola micros spikes. A bit spendy but worth it.

        In my opinion the amount you spend on something like this is inversely proportional to the amount you spend falling down.

  5. I bought snow cables for my car for the first time this year. We were 7 days before the county got our road plowed and then it was still snow and ice packed for another 3 after that. We were fine staying in for the 7 days except we had to cancel some Dr appointments. All the in town and highways were clear in a couple days so the offices did not understand why 5 days later I was calling them saying we were still snowed in… So cables on car for the mile and a half to the highway then they can come off.

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