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Preparing for a Snow Storm

Category Snow Storm
Being prepared for a snowstorm is important for all households, no matter what size. With these tips you will find out what is needed in order to be prepared. This is a guide about preparing for a snow storm.


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By 6 found this helpful
March 2, 2011

Here are some things I learned from the Missouri ice storm of 2007 and recent blizzards:

This year, we had an extraordinarily large amount of snow - 18 inches in one day and night. Our driveway circles our house, so we figured we would be stuck for a day or two. We shoveled the driveway a little at a time until it was completely cleared.

By Noella from Bolivar, MO

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November 20, 20110 found this helpful

The Boy Scouts have it right-always be prepared. After a recent early season snow storm knocked out power for days in the mid-Atlantic, families emerged from the darkness with the realization that they weren't as prepared for a disaster as they thought. Yet, it doesn't take a hefty investment or a lot of time to prepare your family to comfortably weather the winter storms.



For those who live in suburban or urban areas, the idea that food might become inaccessible seems unreal. Yet, something as simple as a heavy snow will snap power lines and close roads for days, closing all fast food and grocery locations. Do you have enough food if you're trapped in your house for three days without power?

It's advised by that each person store three gallons of water and enough non-perishable food for three days. The best plan is to dedicate a plastic tote or other storage bin for your emergency foods. Since they carry a long shelf-life, there's nothing required other than a yearly inventory and replenishment. Don't forget to keep a manual can opener stashed in the bin as well.

To stock up for your emergency kit, watch grocery store sales. Stores often put bottled water on sale in the summer months, so fill your shelves then. It's a good idea to save some plastic milk/water jugs throughout the year and fill them with tap water for washing in the event that you lose your water during the storms. You can always use the water for houseplants, replenishing it when the supply goes low or a storm approaches.


Know what your stockpile needs, and grab it when it's on sale or offered as a coupon. The 10/$10 sales that require all ten items to be purchased are a great time to build your emergency kit. Good food staples include: canned soup, granola bars, mixed nuts, powdered milk, instant coffee, canned tuna, canned fruit, peanut butter, and Chef Boyardee-type products. These products are easily heated and can be eaten cold if necessary. Don't forget to keep extra pet food and a gallon of water a day for each dog/cat.

First Aid

There is no need to pay $10 or $20 for a sparsely packed first aid kit; build your own. Load it with an antiseptic spray, bandages, gauze, gauze tape, butterfly bandages, and a rolled bandage. All of these items can be found at dollar/bargain stores. Also keep your medicine cabinet stocked, and don't allow it to run low. Do you have a week's supply of your prescriptions or over the counter pain relievers? Are your inhalers filled? Do you have the essentials for winter colds? These are important questions to answer before the storm hits and the roads close.


Other items that should be "overstocked" during the winter months are: moist wipes, feminine products, matches, baby products, candles, bathroom tissue, and facial tissues. Your emergency stockpile isn't the place to be brand loyal, so grab whatever is at the highest sale and offers the most coupons.

Also, keep plenty of plastic garbage bags in the house in case you need to create makeshift raincoats or tarps. Duct tape or packing tape should be kept on your emergency shelf as well as a box of matches sealed in a plastic bag.

The Essentials

Forget the pricey investment of a generator (though they can be nice). Instead, look at what you have. Do you have decorative oil lamps in your home? They will light up a room nicely for less than $20 if you keep extra oil and wicks on hand. What about candles? While you more than likely purchased them to add fragrance to your home, they can provide ample light to a room, especially tapers and candelabras. Great buys on candelabras and candles can be found during the holiday season.


Keep more than enough batteries for a radio and your flashlights. Every bedroom and level of the home should have a flashlight in a reliable, set location at all times. You don't need to fumble around in the dark to find a flashlight. Consider investing in an extra storage container to keep extra fuel on hand.

In spring, stores will mark down kerosene and propane heaters. This is your time to snatch them up and store them for emergencies. One kerosene heater will pay for itself after a weekend snow storm that takes out the power used to regulate your heat. Likewise, camping gear might be marked down throughout the year. Pick up a few items such as a camp stove, a coffee pot, and lanterns. These items will be invaluable to you if a storm hits in December.

Most of all, have a plan. offers a variety of plans for emergencies.

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February 7, 20180 found this helpful

If you know there is a large snowfall coming, you can place tarps in places you want to prevent snow from getting piled up in places you don't want. This is a great way to use tarps when preparing for snow.

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March 2, 20110 found this helpful

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is encouraging everyone to take preventive measures to ensure their safety and reduce the risk of winter storm damage to property.

Preparing Your Family

  • Assemble a disaster supply kit. Store drinking water, canned/no-cook food, non-electric can opener, first aid kit, battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries where you can get them easily, even in the dark. Also include winter specific items such as rock salt, sand and other snow removal equipment.

  • Prepare for the possibility that you will need to stay in your home for several days after a winter storm. Make sure that you have sufficient heating fuel as well as emergency heating equipment in case electricity is cut off.

  • House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them.

  • Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends and neighbors or employees.

  • Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid a build-up of toxic fumes and always refuel outside. Keep all heaters at least three feet from flammable objects.

  • Dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water-repellent. Wear a hat, mittens and sturdy, waterproof boots. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extremely cold air.

Preparing Your Car

  • Keep cars and other vehicles fueled and in good repair. Winterize your car by checking your car battery, ignition system, thermostat, lights, flashers, exhaust, heater, brakes, defroster and tires. Ensure that your car has adequate antifreeze, windshield washer fluid and oil and check regularly throughout the season.

  • Place a winter emergency kit in each car that includes a shovel, windshield scraper, flashlight, battery powered radio, extra batteries, water, snack food, extra hats and mittens, blanket, tow chain or rope, road salt and sand, booster cables, emergency flares and fluorescent distress flag.

  • If traveling by car during a winter weather advisory or winter storm watch, do so in daylight, don't travel alone, keep others informed of your schedule and route, and stay on main roads. Avoid driving during a winter storm warning or blizzard warning.

Preparing Your Home

  • Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic, insulate walls and attics, and apply caulk and weather-stripping to doors and windows.

  • Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.

  • Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.

  • Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).

  • Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow - or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.

  • Remove ice and snow from tree limbs, roof and other structures after the storm passes.

Winter Weather Terms

    Know the terms used by weather forecasters so that you clearly understand the risk to your family and your community, including:

  • Winter weather advisory - Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous, especially to motorists;

  • Winter storm watch - Be alert, a storm is possible;

  • Winter storm warning - Take action, the storm is occurring or will soon occur in the area;

  • Blizzard warning - Snow and strong winds combined will produce blinding snow, near zero visibility, deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill - seek refuge immediately;

  • Frost/freeze warning - Below freezing temperatures are expected.



Winter Weather Preparedness Tips

Each person should carry some Stick matches - wrap with something like fishing line - and wrapped tightly with aluminum foil. Each item can be used for other situations in the countryside (al. foil can be used to wrap a fish for cooking) (09/19/2004)

By susan_a362

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