Winter weather is something we all must inevitably deal with each year. Depending on where you live, your winters may be mild or they could be severe. Each time the cold rolls around, we must prepare not only to handle what might occur in our local area but also what we may face in our travels. Since you never know where a bug out might lead, having some winter storm knowledge in your arsenal is in your best interests.
As winter storms roll in, we must really focus on keeping warm. Conditions such as frostbite and hypothermia can be extremely debilitating and even fatal, making preventing them a priority. At the same time, you need to ensure your basic needs are met in terms of water, food, and shelter. All in all, there is a lot to plan for when winter weather threatens, but here are some tips to get you started.
A very important part of winter storm survival is having supplies on hand. This starts with a weather radio and flashlights with fresh batteries. If you're looking at being holed up for a while, each person will need one gallon of water per day. Beyond that, you want food that is easy to prepare and eat when the power is out; the addition of a camp stove can help tremendously with this. If you're planning to be in a location with a fireplace, be sure to check chimneys in advance of any storms; no one wants to find a family of raccoons in the chimney when they need it most. You're also going to want dry firewood at the ready as well as a means of monitoring carbon monoxide, poisoning by which goes up during the winter months. If you do not have access to a fireplace, stock up on blankets to keep warm instead and don't forget to seal any drafts.
The freezing of pipes is another big concern that should be attended to ahead of a storm to prevent a big mess later. Insulate pipes wherever possible and keep cabinets open so warm air can better reach pipes. Allow faucets to drip as the constant flow will keep them from freezing. If a pipe does burst, be sure you know how to stop the flow of water at the source. In the process, if you find yourself getting wet while tending to it, be sure to change out of wet clothes and into dry as soon as possible.
Photo: Matt of all Trades
Additionally, you want to ensure you can get mobile as needed. Having a good shovel as well as deicer for driveways and vehicles will help greatly with this. You also want to winterize your vehicle by checking antifreeze and filling the tank with gas before a storm comes so fuel lines do not freeze. Tires should be in good condition with snow chains on hand if needed. In your car should be a well-stocked kit for roadside emergencies as well.
Also very useful is having a way of staying entertained. Cold weather isolation can take a toll on kids and adults alike, so plan to have something on hand to combat this. Break out the board games, a stash of books, or even art supplies, but also don't forget to charge those precious electronics before the power goes out. Even a game of Hungry Hippos is better than having nothing to do at all.
Though winter weather is unavoidable, we can get through it by being prepared. Take the time now if you haven't already to get yourself stocked up and ready for whatever comes your way. With a little luck, you won't see any truly bad weather this winter, but if you do, you'll be ready.
Is winter weather a problem where you live? How do you cope when the mercury dips? Let us know in the comments.