If you live in an area that gets freezing cold in the winter, then you need to know how to prepare for a winter storm.
Prepare well, and you’ll be able to make it through the harshest conditions without too much difficulty. But fail to prepare, and you could jeopardize the health and safety of yourself and your loved ones.
We’ve put together this article to help you take your ice storm preparation to the next level. Keep reading to learn how to do that.
You may feel like your home and vehicle are ready for anything, but many people underestimate just how severe winter weather can be. Every year, hundreds of Americans are killed on wintry roads -- many due to prolonged exposure to the cold.
Additionally, when winter weather is severe enough, an entire region may be immobilized. This creates a situation in which it becomes impossible to drive your car to the grocery store or to check on loved ones.
And emergency rescue crews may not be able to get to your home right away if you lose power, run out of resources, or have some other emergency that requires immediate attention.
That’s why ice storm preparedness is so important. You just don’t know what can happen during a winter storm. And you need to be ready to solve any situation that you might encounter without emergency assistance in case the roads can’t be traveled on.
Ideally, you should keep winter storm safety in mind throughout the entirety of the snow season. But it’s natural to let your guard down from time to time. So another strategy is to pay close attention to the updates put out by your local weather authority.
The Red Cross defines the four types of storm warnings that you might see. These are presented in order of escalating severity.
- Winter Storm Outlook -- a winter storm is possible in the next week
- Winter Weather Advisory -- severe winter weather is expected
- Winter Storm Watch -- Winter weather is coming in the next 2-3 days
- Winter Storm Warning -- Winter weather is arriving imminently. People should begin taking precautions immediately.
Understanding these four types of winter warnings can help you figure out how seriously you should be taking your preparations. Keep in mind, if you wait until the last minute to prepare, you could run out of time.
If you want to stay as safe as possible, you should maintain your preparations throughout the season. Don’t wait until you get a warning because you might not have enough time to take care of everything on your list.
How to prepare for an ice storm at home
When you think about how to prepare for a winter storm, it’s about getting your home ready for the harshest possible conditions. There are a number of things that you can do to accomplish that. We’ll cover the most important ones in this section.
When a winter storm arrives, the last thing that you want to have to do is leave your home because you’ve run out of food and water. Grocery stores may not be open anyway and you put yourself at a higher risk of being injured by going out on the roads.
That’s why one of the best things that you can do to prepare for a winter storm is stocking up on food and water. Make sure to grab a lot of non-perishable items just in case your power goes out. Here’s a list to get you started:
- Canned soup
- Peanut butter
- Hot chocolate and coffee
- Dried fruits and nuts
- Protein bars
- Canned tuna, chicken, and salmon
- Canned vegetables
- Pet food
Of course, you’ll also want to make sure to have plenty of bottled water on hand, as pipes can freeze when temperatures outside get low. Aim to have at least 1 gallon per person per day.
People need their prescriptions to stay healthy. But in a winter storm, you likely won’t be able to make it out to the pharmacy.
That’s why it’s also important to make sure that you’ve got enough of your prescriptions left to make it through a winter storm before one arrives. Aim to go to the pharmacy as soon as you hear that a winter storm might be coming so that you don’t run out of time to do this.
It’s also a good idea to build a winter emergency kit so that you’re ready to respond to all of the different situations that can occur during a storm. A good kit should contain at least the following items:
- First aid items like bandaids and painkillers
- Blankets and sleeping bags
- A hand-crank radio (to listen for weather updates if the power goes out)
- Anything your pet might need to stay safe
Prepare to lose power
It’s an unfortunate reality that power goes out often during winter storms. When that happens, you want to make sure that you have a backup source of power that you can rely on.
Jackery portable power stations are perfect for this. They’re rechargeable, battery-powered generators that you can run safely in your home (unlike other generators).
You can use them to run things like mini coolers, electric grills, coffee makers, and even TVs. With a Jackery portable power station, your family will still be able to recharge its electronics and have access to the energy that it needs even if the power goes out during a winter storm.
It’s also a good idea to check in with your extended family to make sure that they’re ready for winter weather. This is especially important if you have elderly family members who live in the area.
It could be a good idea to have your older family members come and stay with you during a winter storm. That way, you don’t have to worry about something happening to them and will be available to help them in the event that they need it.
If your family members don’t want to stay with you during the storm, make sure that you have a way to communicate with them throughout it. Consider making a plan to connect at set intervals so that you’ll know if something happens.
When temperatures reach about 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside, your home’s water pipes can freeze. They may even burst, which can cause costly damage and leave your family without access to running water.
But you can do a lot to prevent this from happening by letting cold water drip from the faucets throughout the storm. This decreases the likelihood of them freezing over.
Another aspect of winter storm preparation is making sure that your windows and doors are sealed. When these are left unsealed, they allow the cold weather to make it into your home, which can really bring down your indoor temperatures.
You can seal your windows and doors with an insulation kit. These are pretty easy to find at local hardware stores and online at retailers like Amazon.
Even the best-laid plans may not always be enough to keep you safe in your home during severe winter weather. That’s why it’s also a smart move to make sure that you have an evacuation plan in place in the event that you need one.
The most important aspect of this is knowing where your nearest winter weather evacuation center is. You’ll also need to make sure that your car is prepared to get you there. More information on how to do that is available in the next section.
Getting your car ready for a winter storm is a two-step process. First, you need to make sure that the vehicle itself is ready to transport you in harsh weather. You can do that by:
- Making sure your tires have enough tread and air pressure in them
- Changing your oil and antifreeze
- Inspecting your battery and replacing it if needed
- Making sure your heater is ready to work
On top of that, you’ll also want to make sure that you have supplies in your car to keep your family safe in the event of a breakdown. Your kit should include blankets, sleeping bags, flares, a flashlight, and anything else that you think you might need if your car breaks down.
One of the most important parts of preparing for a winter storm is making sure that you have a reliable backup source of power for your home. Jackery solves this with its portable power stations.
Our portable power stations are rechargeable, simple, and safe enough to use indoors during a winter storm. Take a look at some of our products and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about them.
With a portable power station from Jackery, you can be ready for whatever the winter throws at you.