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Snow Storms and Ice Storms Parts 1 and 2

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Snow Storms and Ice Storms


In this chapter we will address the challenges that we should be ready to meet, in these emergencies.


In a snow storm or blizzard we may get so much snow as to make the roads impassable.

Heavy wet snow can take down the power lines, when that happens, and our furnace is powered by electric, we have no heat, in some cases no way to cook, or provide light.

Secondary sources for all of these should be at hand.


Heat in the form of:


1. Wood stove and enough firewood keep you warm for 3 days to a week. More if you can manage it.


2. There are also kerosene heaters, (filled outside) or a small propane heater that will work off a 20 or 30# tank like you use on a camper.


3.Candles or kerosene lamps (filled outside)- these are not as warm as the first 2 but will keep you from freezing. Close off one room and light several candles or 2 or 3 kerosene lanterns. They give off heat as well as light and the body heat also helps keep a small area warmer.


You will need extra quilts or blankets and warm clothing.

Wear a hat as you lose most of your heat through your head.

Keep enough kerosene , propane, and candles to last for the length of time you believe you may be snowed in.




1. Battery powered lamps and extra batteries and extra bulbs.


2. Kerosene or propane lamps and candles. These need to be protected from active children and pets. The kerosene lanterns should always be filled outside.




1. If you have a gas range or a propane stove or a grill, you have a way to cook.

Do not use a grill in the house, put it on a porch that is well ventilated.

You can light your gas range burners with matches or a long butane lighter.

You can bake in the grill if it closes or use a metal dishpan or large metal roaster to cover

your biscuits or whatever you have to bake.


2. A small folding stove that is 4 to 6 inches square to place a can of sterno in.

A sterno stove can be made from a large coffee can. Using a punch can opener,

Punch several wedge shaped holes in the side of the can at the bottom, and 6 or 7 holes around the sides at the open top. At the first indented ring from the bottom, Using a nail, put 6 holes that line up for inserting 3 heavy wires, such as from a coat hanger, straight across to place the sterno on. Make sure it is sitting on something heat proof when using.

You can also put a column candle in it, to provide a little more heat


You will need:


2 gallon of water per person per day for drinking and cooking.


Food enough for your family for the number of days you are prepping.


Additional prescriptions for that number of days.


If you can flush, enough water to flush your toilet for X number of days or a pail lined with a double plastic bag with cat litter to absorb fluids.

This can be changed as often as you have bags to cover, to save on bags, have a tight fitting cover for the pail.


Baby wipes to help keep clean.


First aid supplies, such as triple antibiotics, assorted band aids, disinfectant, aspirin, Tylenol etc.


Something to help pass the time, playing cards, coloring books and crayons, books, board games and crafts.


This is a first draft.

Now is the time to make suggestions to add to this to make it more complete.


Snow and Ice Storms Part 2


There are a few things you will need if you are trapped in your car during a storm


This information is gleaned from the FEMA site

Winter car kit

Keep these items in your car:

Flashlights with extra batteries

First aid kit with pocket knife

Necessary medications

Several blankets

Sleeping bags

Extra newspapers for insulation

Plastic bags (for sanitation)


Extra set of mittens, socks, and a wool cap

Rain gear and extra clothes

Small sack of sand for generating traction under wheels

Small shovel

Small tools (pliers, wrench, screwdriver)

Booster cables

Set of tire chains or traction mats

Cards, games, and puzzles

Brightly colored cloth to use as a flag

Canned fruit and nuts

Non-electric can opener

Bottled water


The items I would add to this are:

Tea bags

Small jar of tang.

Instant chocolate mix.

Survival blankets

A coffee can and a column candle

Several packet of cheese cracker

A small metal cup for melting snow for tea or hot chocolate

A pot holder

Ziploc bag with some sugar.

If you put the candle in the coffee can it will add warmth, (be careful where you place it)

You can also heat water over it.

These item can be stored in a tote for easy retrieval when you need it.


If trapped in car during a blizzard:

Stay in the car. Do not leave the car to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards. You may become disoriented and lost in blowing and drifting snow.

Display a trouble sign. Hang a brightly colored cloth on the radio antenna and raise the hood.

Occasionally run engine to keep warm. Turn on the car's engine for about 10 minutes each hour. Run the heater when the car is running. Also, turn on the car's dome light when the car is running.

Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and open a downwind window slightly for ventilation.

Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

Do minor exercises to keep up circulation.

Clap hands and move arms and legs occasionally. Try not to stay in one position for too long. If more than one person is in the car, take turns sleeping.

For warmth, huddle together.

Use newspapers, maps, and even the removable car mats for added insulation.

Avoid overexertion. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Unaccustomed exercise such as shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse. Be aware of symptoms of dehydration.


Wind Chill

"Wind chill" is a calculation of how cold it feels outside when the effects of temperature and wind speed are combined. A strong wind combined with a temperature of just below freezing can have the same effect as a still air temperature about 35 degrees colder.

Winter Storm Watches and Warnings

A winter storm watch indicates that severe winter weather may affect your area. A winter storm warning indicates that severe winter weather conditions are definitely on the way.

A blizzard warning means that large amounts of falling or blowing snow and sustained winds of at least 35 miles per hour are expected for several hours.

Frostbite and Hypothermia

Frostbite is a severe reaction to cold exposure that can permanently damage its victims. A loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, or nose and ear lobes are symptoms of frostbite.

Hypothermia is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, frequent stumbling, drowsiness, and exhaustion.

If frostbite or hypothermia is suspected, begin warming the person slowly and seek immediate medical assistance. Warm the person's trunk first. Use your own body heat to help. Arms and legs should be warmed last because stimulation of the limbs can drive cold blood toward the heart and lead to heart failure.

Put person in dry clothing and wrap their entire body in a blanket.

Never give a frostbite or hypothermia victim something with caffeine in it (like coffee or tea) or alcohol. Caffeine, a stimulant, can cause the heart to beat faster and hasten the effects the cold has on the body. Alcohol, a depressant, can slow the heart and also hasten the ill effects of cold body temperatures.


It has been suggested that you could build a snow cave, but if you have not done this , You should practice it before you try, if it caves in you will smother.

That is why you are advised to stay in you vehicle.

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  • 8 months later...

You did touch on heating, but winter storms, especially ice storms, also have prolonged drops in temperature. Keeping warm is important in and out of the house. Block off any drafts. Dress in layers. When it is really cold outside, I may wear a tank top or t-shirt, with another shirt over it, then a sweat shirt followed by a sweater and top it off with a shawl. Not only should your head stay covered but also your feet. Cold feet always seem to cause you to chill. If I have cold feet and put an extra pair of socks on, I feel warmer.


Keep dry.Change out of wet clothing as soon as you can. I miss the old radiators as ugly as they were, that I had when I was a kid. We could place wet clothes there to dry. (mostly our hats and mittens.) We also used them to warm towels for a bath or warm a blanket before using it if we were cold.


Never stay outside for long periods of time unless it can't be avoided.


Keep together for warmth. Cuddle with your kids, dogs cats...all can generate heat together. Remember cold nights is where the term three dog night comes from.


I am sure there might be more. Just remember that during a winter storm and sometimes for a while after, bitter cold is also an issue.

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Might want to check that gas stove to see if it works without power. Friends with a new gas stove lost it during the last big ice storm. It would not run without power to it. A little tid bit of info not covered by the salesman and they did not ask assuming it would work.

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My stove is probably 7 or 8 years old by now and our oven will not work without electricity but if I have matches I can light the burners. At least we can cook and closing off all rooms but the kitchen we would not freeze.




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Don't overlook those chemical light sticks. They are valuable in times of no power. We thumbtack them to the walls along areas we have to walk inside the house to light the way. They give off no heat and are safe against the walls. You are also not going through the house with a lit lamp or candle. They are great for little kids to use, but make sure they don't find them to play with when there is no emergency. They can disappear quicker than Band-Aids. We get the big 12 hour ones but they come in a range of sizes and duration times. I keep one down in the basement near the washer, dryer and wood furnace in case someone is down there and the lights go out. I also have the small emergency lights that come on when the power goes off plugged into the stairwell outlet.


We stayed at a camp one time where they used several of them to light the path to the outhouse. Changed them everyday. It was neat.


You could use them in a barn also for safe light around hay and straw.


Don't store them in a vehicle for winter use as they are a liquid and do freeze. I carry a few in my handbag or a fanny pack with me so they don't have a chance to get too cold there.

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Dutch Ovens...in an ice storm, you can cook in your fireplace with them if you happen to have a fireplace. I'm a historical reenactor and own a full set of Dutch ovens. I'm camp cook and regularly feed the troops at reenactments, so fire cooking comes easily to me. I couldn't imagine facing any winter disaster without my Dutch ovens!

We had an ice storm here in New England last year where we lost power for two days. With our wood stove going, we had a handy supply of coals and I stuck my small Dutch oven inside the stove to quickly simmer up some stew and dumplings one evening and to roast a small beef roast the next night.

We were pretty smug about having heat, light and food--until I remembered we forgot deicer for the walkways, LOL. Now, I own a hand crank ice cream freezer and have a supply of rock salt for that AND the walkways:)



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In 1972, a monster blizzard hit us and we were without power and furnace for 10 days. Temps were near zero. We did have a wood burning parlor stove though. We dragged the mattresses into the living room and moved the refrigerator contents out into the garage which was well below freezing. We cooked on the Coleman camping stove. We melted snow and boiled water to pour into the toilets to keep them from freezing so life remained somewhat civilized. A major problem in northern areas, are the long periods of darkness in winter, nearly 16 hours a day. Keeping our two little kids occupied during the 8 hours of darkness when you aren't sleeping was a problem.


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Re Dutch Ovens and fireplace cooking:


I've built a swinging fireplace crane out of some black iron pipe and a few fittings. A chain allows the cast iron pots to be adjusted over the coals. It's much easier to build these accessories NOW, rather than trying to do it AFTER you need them.


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FB, was the crane attach to the fireplace or was it freestanding? We're going to be building an outdoors kitchen which we hope to be usable winter or summer. One of the things I would like there, besides a cook top and oven over the fireplace is an adjustable crane to swing into the fire itself.


((( )))

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Occupying kids. We had that same issue a few years back and then my husband brought back one of those portable DVD players and it helped during long dark evenings when we occasionally lose power. We keep a few of those hand held video games too. Kids without TV and video games are not a pretty site today. Books and coloring just won't do it. My two are teens now. My son is OK with the video games and his music and my daughter is OK as long as she has a cell phone signal. If we ever lose the cell phone signal, life will be miserable then.

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I am lucky. My daughter is okay as long as she has her books. She does have a portable cd player, but books are the important thing. With the grandkids, I am bad. I tell them, lights are out it is time for bed. Seriously, some games or toys in a supervised lighted room helps them. Younger kids can adjust to almost anything as long as you stay calm and don't panic them. They can play with much of their regular toys. It is keeping them in the same room as everyone else to keep warm, that is the problem.

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