The Right Way to Prepare for the Winter Storm
Whether it ‘s an east coast blizzard this weekend or any winter weather, there are a few things you should do now to make sure you’re comfortable when centimeters pile up. Let’s talk about some of the best and how you can cope when the air is cleared.
Stock up on more than just milk and toilet paper
Most people will run out (if they haven’t already) and buy up all the milk, bread, and toilet paper they think they’ll need to weather the storm. If you want these things, then go ahead (if not, really? ), But you should add a few more things to your shopping list. A few more things to keep in mind:
- First Aid Kit : If you don’t already have one, but even if you have one, it’s time to check it out and make sure you haven’t overlooked anything. This post is a good guide to make sure you have it all.
- Ice Melt / Sand / Kitty Litter : Unless, of course, everything is sold out. Traction on these icy or snowy surfaces is essential if you need to go outside. Just make sure you pick the right look (pet- friendly , for example).
- Prescription Drug Refills : Because the last thing you want to do is run out of what you need while you’re covered in snow and the pharmacy is closed.
- Flashlight and extra batteries : in case of a power outage. Candles are fine if supervised, but most authorities advise you to avoid them because, well, open fires are usually a bad idea.
- Emergency Radio : If you don’t already have one, now is a good time to get one . They are affordable, available everywhere, and will keep you on top of storms or weather alerts even when you don’t have electricity.
- Snow Clearing Equipment : Depending on where you live, the crazy race could have grabbed all the shovels, but take a look at the one you have (if you have one!) And see if it needs replacing . Do you have a snowblower? Check the oil and fuel levels in it to see if you need to raise anything. Also use some cooking spray to make cleaning with a shovel easier. You can also pick up Yak Trax or crampons ( or make them yourself !) To make walking on snow or icy sidewalks easier, and of course, how to tie them up .
Of course, you’ll also want to grab your favorite snacks and fill the pantry, but we’re guessing that’s why you head to the store anyway. Just make sure you don’t forget about preparation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a huge checklist here , and Ready.gov has a guide on what to do before, during, and after a winter storm . Both are good reads, just to make sure you cover your basics.
Prepare the machine properly
Whether in the garage or on the street and about to fall asleep in snow, your car needs a little love too . Check your tires and make sure they are properly inflated to the correct tire pressure (which should be indicated on the side of the tire, on the inside of the driver’s side door, or in your vehicle manual). Check your battery or head to an auto parts store – they usually test your battery for free. A weak or discharged battery will prevent you from working when the roads are clear and the weather is still cold. Yes, and don’t forget to fill the tank.
While you’re there, make sure you have an emergency kit in your car and replace any old, broken, or just plain unusable. If you don’t have first aid supplies or a mylar blanket (seriously, this ten pack costs nine dollars ) in this kit, now is a good time to add them. Throw the shovel and / or scraper in the back seat of the vehicle. Not the trunk – If your car is covered in snow, you won’t be able to open the trunk as easily as you can (probably) pry open the side door and pull out the tools you’ll need to dig out. Some optional floor mats may provide a little traction if you need to pull out of a newly dug parking space.
If you are familiar with this, cold weather is a good time to check your brake fluid and brake condition, oil level (or just changing the oil , it’s not difficult), wipers and wiper fluid, fuel and air filters, you know, work. If this is too tough for you, this is probably not the best time to dig, so take your car to a place you trust and make sure you are in good condition. Oh, and while you’re gone? Don’t drive like a jerk , okay?
Check your home for heat and air leaks
Since it was a very warm winter up until this point (seriously, less than a month ago it was 60 degrees Celsius in Washington), you may have forgotten to prepare your home for the cold weather. Well, not the time like the present. For major renovations, it might be a little late, but check your oven and HVAC system and get the heaters out of the back of the closet. Protect your windows from the elements (or use cheap bubble wrap ) to keep warm air out and cold air out. If you have heavy curtains for cold weather, now is a good time to take them out of storage and hang them up.
Watch out for school and business closings
The amount of snow required to close a school or business varies greatly in many parts of the country, so stay tuned for local news and weather forecasts. Those of us on the east coast freak out about a foot or so have nothing against our friends in the Rocky Mountains who walk twice as often, so there isn’t one single number to look at.
Track winter weather as it passes in your area. Google Maps and Live Map Waze are great for constantly updated traffic, which you can also check before leaving. Find local meteorologists, local news stations and reporters you trust to tell you what you need to know as soon as it happens and follow them on social media – Twitter is especially useful for this because it works in a real time.
Shovel and clear snow in the safest and easiest way
When the storm has passed and there is nothing left but snow and a shovel, you can make your life as easy as possible. A few suggestions:
- Adjust the length of the shovel to be correct
- Spray your shovel with RAM or cooking spray (or, as one commenter pointed out, car wax will work too!)
- Shovel in rectangles, work plan to the background
- Remove snowfall in stages and in layers , as it falls if you can
- Make a snow ripper on the roof instead of climbing on it yourself
- Walk like a penguin through icy places
- Wrap up, put on sunscreen, protect your eyes, and then take care of your skin when you go back inside (a warm drink won’t hurt either)
Even with all of these tricks to make it easier to work with a shovel, you still need to relax, know your limits, and not push yourself too hard. You may have places to go, but you’re no good when you get there, if you’re exhausted, if you ever get there.
Of course, you can just stay inside, have a warm drink (or a snow cocktail if you participate ) and watch the snow fall. This is our recommended course of action, and if you prepare well, you won’t have to drive down congested, accident-prone streets or risk your health by going out in the cold.