Surviving Winter Storms: A How To Guide

Snowy and cold has been the forecast for my state this year, with the Northern part of Utah digging out from under 28 inches of the greatest snow on earth,  even as I type.  We are at about 150% of average snow fall here, with more on the way.  This is a big change from the last several years of drought,  prompting me to compile a list of the best posts on Simply Preparing on the topic of  Surviving Winter Storms.

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A Checklist for Surviving Winter Storms

Clothing

I always have to grin when recent transplants from warm weather states realize that they are actually going to need a warm coat to survive winter storms with below zero temperatures.

1.  Learning how to dress in layers for winter weather is a must.

2. Don’t let your body heat escape into thin air.   These behind the *this post contains affiliate links head earmuffs are my favorite and don’t make me feel like a five year old when I’m out in the winter weather.    But you may be more of a beanie sort of person.

3.Gloves  You’ll need winter gloves that are warm,  water proof, moisture wicking and will allow you to work out doors too.

4. Winter Boots   I have a pair of KEENS that I adore.  They give my feet the support they need, while keeping them warm too.

5.  Insulated snow pants.  Maybe a pair of thermals to go underneath.

6.  Wool Socks.  I remember first thinking that wool socks would be so uncomfortable.  The first thing I think of when I think of wool is rough and scratchy.  Plus, who wants to hand wash wool socks.  Then I found Smartwool.  Soft.  Warm.  Machine washable.  Your goal of surviving winter storms will be much more comfortable when your feet are dry and warm.

The Ultimate Guide To Surving Winter Storms

Surviving Winter Storms Without Electricity.

1. Your chances of losing power during a winter storm are pretty high.  Having a Propane Space Heater will allow you to heat the inside of your home safely.  If going this route, you’ll want to make sure you have a battery operated carbon monoxide alarm, which each of us should really have anyway.

Kerosene heaters would fall under this category.  The heaters burn a wick fueled by kerosene to keep a large space warm.

2.  Firewood.  If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove,  make sure you keep an extra cord of wood available to burn.  You’ll also need a good axe for splitting wood and chopping kindling.

3.  Pellet Stoves and Natural Gas Fireplaces.  These usually need electricity to run, however there is a brand of pellet stoves that will keep you warm with being hooked up to a power grid.  Be prepared.  They are an investment for sure.

No Secondary Source of Heat?  Try These Ideas:

Concentrate your efforts on one room where everyone will gather, preferably one without a lot of windows.

Use heavy quilts to cover doorways and under doorways, to help keep the cold from the other rooms seeping into your warmer room.

Grab that plastic shower curtain from your bathroom to cover windows with, or drape a blanket over an existing curtain rod. If you have them on hand, black contractor bags would be a great solution for insulating the windows.  Tape them up with duct tape.  Another option would be the plastic table cloths that always go on sale after the holidays.   If it’s sunny during the day, you can take these down to allow the sun to heat the room a bit.

Plug any leaks around your windows or outside doors with insulation foam.

Kerosene Hurricane Lanterns can add some warmth to a small space.  Think Little House on the Prairie.   Be sure to keep the kids away from them though.

Bundle up in coats, hats and gloves.

Break Out The Camping Gear.  A tent inside the house?  You bet!  Roll out those sleeping bags too.  Body warmth can go a long way to keeping each other warm in a tight space.

Wool Blankets.   Far superior to cotton or fleece at keeping you warm, wool blankets are a must have for surviving winter storms without electricity.

Hand Warmers.  I buy these by the box and stash them everywhere.  Little bits of bliss, I’ll tell ya.

Food

Surviving winter storms requires  you having a stock of non-perishable food items to last for a while.  Granola bars and shelf stable milk for breakfast.  Peanut butter and whole grain crackers.  A can of black beans mixed with a jar of salsa scooped up with tortilla chips.  Packets of ready to eat tuna and crackers.

If you heat with a fire or a wood stove you can heat up canned soups and stews.  In a real pinch, you can even eat these foods straight out of the can.  Just make sure you have a good can opener on hand!

You can purchase MREs (Meals Ready To Eat) that come with their own single meal use heaters.

Don’t forget the bottled water.  The rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person per day.

Sanitation

At the first sign of a winter storm, fill the bathtub up with water to use for flushing toilets. Add the water to the tank so that, if necessary, you can flush.

Here’s another opportunity to put that box of the black contractor grade garbage bags to use.  Place a bag in your drained toilet. Sprinkle some kitty litter into the bottom of the bag. Every time someone makes a ‘deposit’ into the black bag, add another scoop of kitty litter. You’ll be able to tie the bag securely and then store it outside until your services are restored.

A Guide To Surviving Winter Storms

Let There Be Light

The last thing you want is to be caught in the dark while surviving winter storm. Fortunately there are a lot of lighting options to choose from.

Camping Lanterns

Flashlights    Even the kids can have their own.

Candles   Don’t forget the matches.

Luci Lights have become one of my favorite choices for illumination when the lights go out.

Staying Safe Outside

1.  I’ve seen many people trying to remove snow from their roofs after a snow storm.  Make the job easier and safer with a roof rake.

2.  Ice Melt  Used for porches and sidewalks to keep them free from ice.

3.  Kitty Litter.  Yup.  Plain old non-clumping, non-scoopable, gravel kitty litter will help provide traction under your car’s wheels and down those front steps.  Can’t find this type of kitty litter?  Grab a couple of bags of sand.

4.  Snow Shovel/Pusher.

5.  Snow Scraper with Brush

Being Prepared Brings Peace

Preparing for any possibility during a winter storm is simple common sense.  Don’t be part of the herd racing out to the grocery store in hopes of grabbing a loaf of bread and a carton of milk before the flurry flies.   Take the fear of of winter storms by being prepared before hand.

What things to you to do to prepare to survive winter storms?

For more information surviving winter storms, read Simply Preparing’s List of 11 Things To Do Before A Winter Storm!

Plan on traveling during the winter months?  We’ve got you covered. Check out our post on   Last Minute Winter Emergency Road Trip List

About ParkerMama

Tammy is a mom to 6 wonderful kids, including Parker, who came with an extra chromosome! She is passionate about special needs advocacy, living within her means, and preparing for an uncertain future. Tammy's main blog is Praying For Parker. Make sure to visit her there as well!

Comments

  1. This is the perfect post to read and gleam from to prepare! Winter storms are definitely more concerning than people believe! Thanks for the great tips!

  2. Some really helpful info here! Never would have thought of the kitty litter!

  3. You have some great tips! Earlier this week they were forecasting an ice storm for my area. I think it’s changed now, but I was going through my mental prepping list. I like your tip for the toilet. That’s a longer-term solution that I didn’t know about.

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