How to be Ready for the "Storm of the Century"

A powerful blizzard of ice, sleet, and up to 20 inches of snow recently blasted the east coast from Georgia to Massachusetts. 60 million Americans were affected. Hundreds of thousands were left without power. Tragically, at least 30 deaths have been attributed to the winter storm. This left the rest of the nation wondering just what they’d do and how they should prepare if and when a storm of this magnitude were to ever hit their region.

Winter storm watches and warnings are your cue to make sure you are prepared. The American Red Cross provides an extensive list of items to procure ahead of time including: food, water, flashlights, first aid kits, extra cash, and a plan for ample alternative heat such as wood for a fireplace or fuel for a kerosene space heater. See their website for the full list.

With enough lead-time, you should also be able to pick up a full tank of gas and add any additional insulation around your home. Some suggestions include plastic wrapping windows, putting towels or blankets over exterior door jams, and ensuring all storm doors and windows are properly installed.

There is action to take once the storm hits, as well. Stay up to date on the storm through the local news or through a NOAA weather radio. Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature at day and at night. That way the home will already be at a higher temperature should you lose power in the middle of the night. If you do lose power then make an action plan to stay warm. Engage an alternate heat source. Turn all faucets on slightly to allow a consistent trickle of water. This will help prevent pipes from freezing.  If necessary, get yourself to a designated public shelter.