Global warming, El Niño, a polar vortex, and long-lasting hurricane and tornado seasons should have all Americans convinced they are living in the era of weird weather. 2014 has already seen the wettest weather on the East Coast since the 1800s and the driest weather on the West Coast in about a hundred years. The unseasonable heat is almost over, so there is no better time to take a look at what to do for the coming winter.
As with any preparedness plan, starting before disaster strikes is imperative. Once a blizzard sets in it will be difficult to find supplies and dangerous to be out on the roads looking for them. A blizzard survival kit should at least include weather seal tape, a snow shovel, a chainsaw, an air tight gas can, sturdy gloves, snow melt/rock salt, and non-perishable food and water.
Weather Seal Tape
Weather seal tape increases the energy efficiency of a home during any season. When preparing for the cold temperatures of winter, it is a good idea to seal up any doors or windows that are not used to prevent drafts or heat loss. Sealing unused windows and doors with weather seal tape prevents heat loss and drafts during a blizzard and is easily removed afterwards.
Every home (where it snows) needs a snow shovel throughout the winter months. However, blizzard conditions often require a homeowner to shovel snow several times a day to prevent the snow pileup from becoming immovable. In addition, if the snow begins to pile on the roof of a home, it may be necessary to shovel it. Roofs, especially those with very little angle, are at risk for collapsing under the unexpected weight.
Chainsaws may not be at the top of every consumer's list but they can be a lifesaver. Snow is much heavier and damaging than rain. Power outages during a blizzard and the days following are often a result of tree branches and other debris collapsing under the strain of snow buildup. Early in a blizzard, homeowners should cut limbs that are above roofs and power lines to prevent them from falling and causing an outage.
Airtight Gas Can
An airtight gas can is the safest way to store fuel for the long term. It is important to keep a supply of gas to run generators, snow blowers, and snow plowing machinery. Keeping their tanks full will prevent the fuel lines from freezing. Once a blizzard starts it will be difficult to find access to gas especially if the electricity is out for an extended period. Most gas station pumps are electric and unusable in power outages.
Sturdy gloves should go without explanation, but in case they do not, individuals should know that frostbite occurs within the extremities first. A well-insulated glove with a waterproof outer casing is essential when tackling any task out in the weather.
Snow Melt or Rock Salt
Sprinkle snow melt, rock salt or cat litter to keep walkways and driveways safe. After shoveling snow, sprinkle the concrete to provide grip and help melt off any ice buildup.
Food and Water Stock
The Red Cross recommends a two-week supply of food and water. When stocking up, try to choose items that provide balanced nutrition and do not need heating for safe consumption. For example, canned tuna is an excellent choice for a protein. Remember to periodically check any boxed items for an expiration date and swap out those that are about to expire.
Other blizzard preparations should include items specific to the family such as a stockpile of diapers, wipes, and formula for babies. School-age children will benefit from books and board games. Once a blizzard strikes there can be many hours of sitting around with nothing to do. Stores that usually provide these items are often closed during severe weather. Including the essentials as well as some busy activities will help pass the time.