Monday, January 31, 2011

What to do in preparation for a winter storm of historical proportions

The National Weather Service has actually used the following words to describe a winter storm headed our way: "potentially historic." Since the use of those words, the forecast has changed a little, probably to "really noteworthy," but there are always some generally good guidelines to follow when preparing for any noteworthy ice storm followed by a blizzard. (Incidentally, I don't recall ever having been in an area for which a Blizzard Warning was ever actually issued. This is a first for me.)

Some suggested preparations:

1) Have your grocery shopping and bulk food deliveries occur just prior to the rush on the grocery stores. This ensures your ability to remain housebound for weeks at a time, assuming your electricity and gas services aren't interrupted. Whether the timing works out perfectly for you or not, be sure to stock up on coffee, cocoa powder and chips because coffee, hot cocoa and junk food are necessities of house-bound-ness.

2) Charge every battery and battery-operated device in your house. Leave your mobile phone plugged in at all times, lest you have less than a 100% charge if/when the power goes out. Especially if you don't have a landline. Especially when your modem/router won't work without electricity--you'll need to remain glued to facebook via your mobile internet connection on your phone instead of your laptop (which device is rendered useless when disconnected from teh intarwebz).

3) Pack a bag in case the transformer behind your house explodes (like it so inevitably does) after midnight during the coldest portion of the weather event so that your house loses heat at an unbelievably fast rate. You may need to flee to a hotel in a different town with a more reliable electricity infrastructure before your children freeze to death in their sleep. I speak from experience when I relate that packing bags and readying children in the pitch black of cold night is tedious work which lends itself to forgetful omissions of necessities.

4) Prepare for the event that you will not lose electricity or heat--make sure your movie stores are stocked, all Jenga pieces present and accounted for, books are at the ready, and liquor is available when necessary.

You may find other preparations are needed for your family, but as the storm has threatened and now begun, these were the important thoughts on my mind.

What would you add to the list?