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Winter is here, and currently, Winter Storm Harper is heading our way. This storm is supposed to dump up to 12 to 18 inches in my area, but some areas are expected to get 24 inches at a time. The best time to prepare for a winter storm is ahead of time.
You never want to wait for the storm to be down your neck to prepare. By that time, the stores are crammed with people who procrastinated, and the store shelves are bare.
My best tip for you is to purposefully prepare all winter long for a storm. Meteorologists have their predictions, but predictions can be incredibly wrong. A storm that is predicted to dump 3 inches could bring over a foot of snow.
9 Tips to Prepare for a Winter Storm
1. Stockpile Food
The first thing you want to do is stockpile, non-perishable foods. If you’re stuck in your home for a few days, you want to feed your family. It’s always a good idea to have a week worth of food in your family.
Winter storms can knock out power, so you need food that you can prepare without having to cook it. Another good idea is to have some extra way to cook food. A camp stove, solar oven, or grill are some options to consider!
TIP: I prefer to invest in a camp stove because, duh, you can use it camping and make some awesome camping recipes. However, make sure you store extra bottles of propane, which are available at Walmart.
So, what foods are best for stockpiling?
- Canned Soups and Chili
- Canned Vegetables
- Jarred Fruits
- Canned Meat – Tuna, Chicken, Beef, Vienna Sausages
- Dried Fruit
- Granola Bars
- Protein Bars and Protein Powder
- Nuts & Trail Mix
- Peanut Butter
If you have a way to boil water, such as the camp stove or even a gas stove that works without electricity, you can add things like:
- Tomato Sauce
- Rice & Beans
2. Stockpile Water
Humans can live several days without food, but water is essential for life. Without water, you will quickly fall into dehydration, especially young kids.
For that very reason, it’s suggested that you have one gallon of water per person per day stored. You should also add in a gallon per pet, just to be on the safe side. I have two large dogs that drink a lot of water.
TIP: Try these Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer Water Container. The plastic is rigid and less likely to break open. We used to store water in jugs that came in the store, but for long-term, they can burst open.. Don’t ask me how I know that!
It’s recommended that you have a week worth of water stored. For our family, we have six humans and two large dogs. That’s 8 gallons per day and 56 gallons for a week. Extra is better, but that’s the minimum to store.
3. Have a Generator
A generator is a smart investment if you live in a snowy place. Winter storms, especially if there is ice involved, can knock out the power for days at a time. Some areas have experienced weeks without power due to a winter storm.
For us, having a generator is crucial. We tend to lose power if the wind blows the wrong way in the summer, and winters are unpredictable.
Having a reliable generator and a fuel supply makes a huge difference in our preparations for winter.
4. Make Sure Infants and Kids are Prepared
Kids and infants are vulnerable during winter storms. It’s cold, and little ones aren’t able to properly regulate their body temperatures as we adults can. Therefore, it’s important that you have blankets and warm clothes stored for your kids. Socks, gloves, and hats help to cover the areas most prone to frostbite.
For infants and toddlers, make sure you have a week worth of diapers and wipes stored. I keep flat diapers and covers stored for long-term emergencies.
You also need to have formula and safe water stored for infants if they drink formula. Consider adding things such as baby food and appropriate snacks for your child.
If you’re a breastfeeding mother, you need to add more water for yourself than the gallon. Dehydration will reduce your milk supply.
5. Get Blankets and Warm Clothes
It might seem obvious, but make sure you’re prepared with blankets and warm clothes. The hope is that your electricity stays on, and you don’t have to worry about the house getting too cold. However, just on the safe side, wash all of your blankets ahead of time and find appropriate clothing for everyone.
6. Consider an Alternate Heat Source
If you’re stuck in a long storm and then are stuck at your house for several days without power, the house is going to get cold fast.
TIP: Increase the heat in your house the hours leading up to the storm. If the power goes out, it’ll help slow the process of cooling down.
If you’re lucky enough to have a wood burning stove, you’re fine and have no reason to worry. Just make sure you have enough wood chopped and stored in a dry area.
For those of us without a wood burning stove, we have to be creative. The hopes would be that your generator can run the HVAC unit, but not all are able to do everything.
Many people use propane heaters, like
TIP: If the power goes out, stay in one or two rooms together. Sleep in the same area as the heater.
7. Stock Up Your First Aid Kit
You should always have a stocked first aid kit at your house. I know with 4 kids I do, and I often have to do restock-ups because these kids are disaster zones sometimes.
If you prefer, you can just buy a stocked kit already. These kits typically come with everything that you could need, but they aren’t personalized to your family. The M2 Basics Emergency Kit is a great value and has 300 pieces!
TIP: Don’t forget about your kids! Make sure your kit has things such as child Tylenol and Motrin, Child Benadryl, and some child-safe cold medicine. Make sure you have diaper rash cream as well, which is a godsend for chafing for boys!
If you want to make your own kit, a few items that you should include are:
- Butterfly Closures
- Medical tape
- Sting Relief
- Skin Glue
- Medical Gloves
- Antibiotic Ointment
8. Prepare Your Home
Don’t forget that your home needs to be prepared as well! A few suggestions include:
- Inspect and your chimney before winter and snow
- Make sure you have a good shovel to dig your way out!
- Clean the gutters and check the condition of your roof before winter begins.
- Insulate walls and attics
- Add weatherstrips to windows and doors. One of the simplest fixes you can do is to add 3M Indoor Window Insulator Kits to your windows. They help keep the heat in and the cold out, plus they’re so cheap. Everyone needs to have these.
- Make sure your fire extinguishers work.
- Check the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors work.
- Have sand, ice melt, or kitty litter for
9. Get Flashlights & Batteries
If the lights go out, have a flashlight for each member of your house and additional batteries. It’s also a good idea to have a few lanterns for common areas like the living room or kitchen.
I typically just purchase cheaper flashlights, like this 4-pack from BYB. They’re cheaper and work great if you have extra batteries laying around. Kids love flashlights, and I swear mine drain batteries all the time,
I do invest in nice camping lanterns. We like to camp in the summer, so these lanterns get plenty of use. I’m a huge fan of the Coleman LED Lantern. LED lights are very bright and last for so much longer!
Have a Plan
There ya have it! Are you ready for a winter storm? Start to prepare for a winter storm the weeks leading up to the storm and winter
Winter storms can happen at any time in the winter. Just because you have one this week doesn’t mean a worse one won’t happen in three weeks! Be prepared and start prepping now. So, when it comes, you don’t feel panicked!