Over the weekend, historically unprecedented tornadoes (in seasonal size, numbers, and length of travel) hit 6 U.S. states—scores of lives lost, an equal number currently unaccounted for, hundreds of homes destroyed in multiple communities. Thousands of homes damaged. Hundreds of thousands left without power and/or water as the Christmas season and the winter weather season approach. It may be weeks before many have power restored.
The weather is changing. Many of us remember extreme winter weather conditions in places where more temperate conditions have prevailed over recent decades—Deep and frequent snow falls with bone chilling temperatures replaced with rainy or even dry conditions and milder temperatures. Temperate winters are not guaranteed.
With the likely exceptions of hurricanes and extreme heat, winter weather in the U.S. can span the gamut of conditions. Severe rain/flooding, deep snowfalls, bitter cold, ice storms, and even the occasional tornado impact much of the country during the winter season.
The “Big Freeze” in the central south U.S. last year demonstrated how quickly regions not commonly associated with devastating low temperatures can be impacted and for extended periods of time.
Like many of the typical “storm season” events, winter storms can prevent first responses by organizations tasked with relief efforts. Snow can block roads. Ice can make roads unsafe for travel. Many of us have “been there, done that.” For many others, this is new. Whether you’ve been there or not, you should prepare.
Preparation is Key
Much news time is spent on how to prepare for hurricane season. More should be spent on how to prepare for winter storms.
Consider having additional supplies of food, water, fuel, medicines, etc. in case of a severe winter weather storm. It could be days or weeks before the weather improves or responders can respond properly. Responders also have home and may be home-bound just as you are.
Consider a small, portable generator to power some of the electrical components of your house. It doesn’t take a huge whole-house generator to drive enough outlets for lighting or even to run the furnace periodically. You may have to rotate what is running off the generator, but it can be comforting, at a minimum, to have a few lights on and to maintain the temperature of your house above freezing temperatures.
Consider an Emergency Water System for Your Home
Many of us are on water wells. Loss of power means loss of water. For those on public water systems, freezing temperatures can damage the public water pipes. Frozen water mains are even harder to repair in severe winter weather.
Constant Water battery-power, whole house emergency water systems can provide potable water, and water for basic sanitation and hygiene, without the need to fill sinks and tubs, buy bottled water, or carrying buckets of water to flush toilets. Constant Water systems are always ready for the next big winter (or summer) weather event.
More and more of us are aging, and we are “aging in place.” We are staying in our own homes longer. While we don’t like to admit it, it is harder for us to do all of those things that are required during nasty winter weather storm. A little preparation can go a long way for you, your family, and your loved ones.