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How to Prepare for a Harsh Winter Snow

Living Insights

The colder weather is certainly welcome this time of year, especially after a long hot summer.  However, it won’t be long before the cold has overstayed its welcome.  Frozen snowscapes are beautiful, but snow and ice affect the house and the car, too. It is best to know what to do in case of an emergency, so that a snow day remains a fun memory, and not a family disaster.

Be Prepared

It’s remarkable how fast the grocery store gets picked over when a blizzard is forecast. Beat the crowds and make sure the house is ready for the snow before it falls. Some important areas to consider include:

  • Gather all the needed supplies and put them in a safe place with easy access. This includes flashlights, batteries, shovels, snowmelt, blankets and a first-aid kit among other things.
  • A smart move is to invest in a generator, especially if knockout storms are an annual event.
  • Be sure to give the house a once-over. Have the chimney, roof and gutters checked to avoid leaks and to ensure proper heating. The insulation in the attic and elsewhere should be evaluated about once a year as well.
  • Most importantly, don’t wait until there’s a problem, be proactive and get ready!

Before the Storm

When the storm starts rolling in and the Doppler radar turns pink, it’s time to initiate the game plan. First, be aware of what the terminology means when the weatherman throws it out. A winter weather watch sees potential problems, an advisory acknowledges probable problems, while a warning confirms that there will be hazardous conditions. In such a case, double-check the preparations already made and restock on any shortages. This is also a good time to fill up the car with gas and pick some essentials from the store – from milk to toilet paper.

During the Storm

If inclement weather does come, settle in. It’s best not to leave the house while snow is accumulating, or the icy rain is falling.  Keep the thermostat turned up in case the power goes out, and it’d be a good idea to turn on the faucets to a slow drip. The motion will keep them from freezing. If the power does go out, take a run through the house and unplug any sensitive electronics in case of surges. Keep the fridge closed or the food will start to spoil. Insist upon extra blankets for everyone, and if candles or fires are lit, make sure to keep an eye on them to avoid an even worse catastrophe.

After the Storm

Once things have calmed down, don’t be in such a rush to get back out there. Even if the roads have been cleared, melting snow can freeze and refreeze, making the streets as perilous as before. Make sure everyone (even the dog) gets plenty of water. Moving around in the cold is more tiring than it seems, especially when shoveling the driveway. Once that’s done, toss out the salt or kitty litter to keep the steps and walkways from icing up.

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