Winter weather… not my idea of a good time. The cold, wet, snow, ice, and dark. I’m not a fan. Plus, the idea of something causing the power to go out and the water lines to freeze causes me anxiety. Especially because we have four little kids who rely on us to keep them clothed, fed and warm.
So, how do you prepare for winter weather?
Create a plan
First, you need to create a plan and know what you’re preparing for. If you need help creating a plan my emergency preparedness workbook is just what you need. My workbook will help you prepare for all the emergencies in your life from job loss to main water line breaks to natural disasters like winter weather. It will also teach you how to create a food storage your family will actually use, water storage, 72 hour kits, insurance and more.
To create a plan for anything, but in this case winter weather you need to know what the most likely worst-case *realistic* scenario is for your area. For me, in Utah the worst-case scenario that I could conjure up in my head is an earthquake that cripples the state knocking out power, heat, water supply, levels houses and roads making it impossible for trucks to get in and out. In January. When it’s -10 degrees at night and barely above 0 degrees in the day. It’s dark, cold, dreary, and flat out miserable.
Here are a few suggestions on alternative heat options:
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- Portable propane heaters like a Mr Buddy Heater/propane
- Wood burning stoves
- Clothing layers (beanies, gloves, thermals, wool socks)
- Hand, feet, and body warmers
- Blankets (especially wool)
- Warm liquids (hot chocolate, coffee, tea, etc)
- Seal windows and doors to prevent cold air leaking in
- Shrink down your living space by creating a fort or using a tent in a living room
- Keeping your gas tank in your vehicle above half to warm up in your vehicle in a well ventilated area.
My second concern would be dealing with power outages and you can read more about preparing for power outages in this blog post.
Frozen Water Supply
Water supply freezing is another concern I have. Not only would you be out water, but you also risk broken pipes and flooding. This is another reason why understanding your homeowner’s insurance is important. I talk more about that in this blog post here.
In addition to understanding your insurance and flooding coverage, you also need to have a plan for what you will do if your pipes stop supplying water. I will address water storage in later posts, but for now, I’ll provide my best advice for water storage. While the most common piece of advice for water storage is to have a minimum of a gallon of water per person per day, I believe that a gallon per person per day may not be enough, especially when considering cooking, cleaning, and drinking. What I recommend is having a case of water per person or pet and a 5-gallon water jug per person or pet. This will give you approximately 8-12 gallons of water per person, and I estimate that with careful water usage, you could sustain yourself for 5-7 days.
Icy/snowy roads are also a huge concern when it comes to winter weather preparedness. Icy roads and snowy weather can cause crashes, slide offs, and poor visibility. Having a car kit prepared for such cases is very important.
In February 2021 the coldest winter storm since December 1989 hit portions of Texas. Some areas of Texas saw close to a week or more of freezing temperatures.
On top of freezing temperatures, they received freezing rain and snow which hindered travel. To make matters even worse, around 10 million people lost power causing not only lack of light and interfering with cooking, but it also caused the heat to go out. Because the heat wasn’t working, and temperatures were so cold people’s pipes started to freeze and burst. ABC 13 stated that people went days without power and drinkable water.
Homes built in Texas aren’t built for extreme cold like houses in more winter prone areas. This proved to be deadly. In this article by ABC 13 it is thought that most deaths were caused by hypothermia. One person’s house was found to be 37 degrees Fahrenheit.
What do you do?
So, put yourself in this scenario. What do you do? How are you going to keep warm if the power goes out and it’s freezing temperatures outside? Do you have food you can prepare without power? If you water supply freezes, do you have enough water to hold everyone over for a few days?
What can you do today to be prepared for a situation like what those people in the Texas freeze went through?