The high wind and flooding advisories are starting to flash across my television screen and though I’m hundreds of miles away from Hurricane Sandy, I can hear the wind whipping around outside like crazy and the whistling outside my window, Rain wise we’ve entered permanent drizzle and steady shower modes.
I’ve glued myself to the weather apps on my iPhone and I’m Facebook stalking friends who are in Hurricane Sandy’s path.
The good news though is that all those leaves I had started to dread raking up this weekend will likely end up in Colorado somewhere (sorry about that).
Hey, I’m trying to find a bright side in all of this.
Still, as the weather slowly turns ugly and the day wears on, I’m working on my severe weather provisions and I’ve decided that there will be a trip to the store before the day is over. We don’t need much but at this point, I don’t think it will hurt to pick up a couple of extra gallons of milk and some more gallons of water.
The one thing that I’ve learned about living out in the country for the last (almost) 10 years is that, you can’t be too prepared. Brian does well with making sure we have the important things like plenty of gas for the generator (we invested in that after the first bad spring storm season we experienced), gas for the vehicles in case we need to get out of dodge, and wood for the wood burner. However, the wood burner is a staple in this house because it’s how we heat all winter long anyway – but still. We’re stocked and ready.
Here’s a list of what goes in to keeping our house prepared for severe weather.
- Oil for lanterns
- Extra blankets (Dig them out now if you have them stored away. You really don’t want to rifle around in a closet or basement when the power goes out trying to remember where all the sleeping bags and heavy quilts are.)
- Enough clean clothes for every person for 3-5 days.*
- Enough water for two weeks (We get ours by the gallon. It’s cheaper than individual bottles in the long run. Take into account water for cooking too!)*
- Wet wipes or Baby wipes
- Toilet paper
- Can Opener (not the electric kind, obviously)
- A week’s worth of food (including milk, snacks, eggs, bread)
- Chocolate (You have your priorities I have mine.)
- Art supplies
This list may not be as long as others’ lists but keep in mind, we’re out in the country anyway so we make sure we have a stocked house and pantry because unlike cities; rural areas, back roads and country roads are the last to be cleared when trees go down, power goes out, or you get a heavy snowfall. Plan like you live in the country, even if you don’t.
A word on entertainment
A house full of kids means that We.Must.Have.Things.To.Do.
Our iPods, mp3 players, Kindles, Nooks, and battery operated entertainment devices are all fully charged and I limit the amount of time they can spend on these things in order to preserve batteries. We have lots of art supplies such as paints, paper, crayons, markers, coloring books, word puzzle books, newspapers, pencils, scissors, playdough. And yes, a laptop with a good battery can get you through one DVD movie if necessary. Device car chargers are a huge help because if you can get to your car to charge something for even 15 minutes, that could be an hour of quiet in an otherwise stressful and worrisome situation.
Clothing and other when you get smelly stuff
I suggest about a week’s worth of clean clothes for everyone. I know some people don’t care so much but if you can’t shower or bathe because you’re stranded in your home, the last thing you want to do is smell one another… two teenagers and one tween never smell good after 48 hours in the same clothes. Besides, you don’t know when you’ll get to wash laundry again so a few extra pairs of panties and under garments are nice to have.
*If you’re lucky enough to have an unlimited source of water, (like a well) then I recommend using it for washing out clothing and bathing and/or heating some of the water for baths if possible. If you have access to a generator that you can run periodically do a load of laundry and line kids up for baths or a scrub down. Otherwise, use baby wipes or wet wipes for a quick freshening up.*
Feeding the family
Obviously if you know that severe weather or a Frankenstorm like Sandy is heading your way then you can plan for meals but sometimes the weather just turns unexpectedly and there isn’t a lot of room to plan out meals. In your pantry you should have the basics; flour, eggs, rice, beans, noodles (of any kind), sugar. From these items you can make pancakes, waffles, biscuits, quick breads, beans and rice or beans and noodles. Keep at least a week’s worth of food on hand; enough for every person in your house.
Of course if you are really into survival planning (or you have advance notice of the severe weather) you can make meals ahead and freeze. We used to buy multiple gallons of milk, split them up (take about one to two thirds out of each gallon to allow room for expanding but keep what you take out and put it into another freezer safe container ) and freeze.
I’m not the best planner so my tips may seem obvious but when you’re trying to figure out what your family’s immediate needs are, sometimes it’s good to have a list (or three) and some suggestions to help you brace for the worst Mother Nature can bring.
image by Elnias