Tag Archives: Winter

  • A Tale of Two Winters

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

    Boston's Snowiest Winter (WBZ-TV Retrieved from cbs Boston) Attribution: WBZ-TV

    That’s how this winter has felt for most of the country. High amounts of nothing in the West can make for happy commuters, and yet equally unhappy farmers and anyone else who enjoys drinking water. The East coast received a pounding in snow storms, and Boston has even broken its own record (congratulations!) for snowiest winter, accumulating 108.6 inches of snow as of Sunday evening. That’s over 9 feet of snow! Now, as spring starts to set in, each side of the country is experiencing the aftermath of their individualized winter.

    Each side looks longingly at the other, wishing for what the other has. If only they could arrange a switcheroo, with the West taking some much needed moisture from the overly-watered East, and the East taking some dry weather from the parched West. But alas. To borrow from Rudyard Kipling, "East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet."

    Winter has definitely been a different story for each side of the country, and each story has its own villain and plot twists. The western drought is worse than ever as water levels are historically low, while in the East, spring flooding has become a huge problem with the Ohio River overstepping its banks, flooding areas in Cincinnati, as well as Kentucky and Indiana.

    As the drought drags on, water shortages will become more and more common. The clouds refuse to give a much-needed respite. Water tables are dropping, and farmers are in a pickle. And so are the rest of us…eventually. Food crops need water to grow, and so as the clouds remain petulant and refuse us their moisture, what will happen to food supplies? What will happen to the cost of groceries? Food tends to run short during food shortages (funny how that works). And of course, that’s when prices tend to rise.

    boston-snow (WBZ TV) Attribution: WBZ-TV

    On the other side of the country, melting snow and spring rain is causing floods, water washing over roads and flooding business. Ironically, one must ask, how does flooding affect your water supply? Impure flood waters can contaminate municipal supplies. Also, how do flood waters affect food supplies? The entire supply chain, from the farm to the highway, to the grocery store is interrupted. Assuming food finds its way to the store, and you are even able to there, you’ll likely find prices much higher when you arrive.

    It’s times like these when we can only hope we are prepared.

    I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, the best time to prepare for today is yesterday. Or last week or last month. Basically, if we are constantly preparing for natural nuisances such as these, we won’t be in over our head when the floods rise or the droughts linger.

    Woman Looking In Empty Food CupboardsThese next few days could prove quite uncomfortable for those left with what’s in their cupboards. If you’re like many Americans and like to wait until the cupboards are completely bare before you do your shopping (after all, why go shopping if there’s no room to put the goods?), you could end up re-living your college days by only eating ramen noodles and Easy Mac. That’s one reason (among many) why it’s important to have food and water storage on hand. At a minimum, make sure you have at least 3-days’ worth of food and water stored.

    Instead of fording rivers to see what the stores have to offer, having your own food storage can really keep you afloat during these times. Starting a food storage may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. You can start with a can here, a can there, and gradually build it up over time. Or, you could just dive in head first and take advantage of our year-supply offers by either getting it all in one go. We also has Prep As You Go plans, allowing you to gradually build up your storage over the course of a year, making it a much more affordable option.

    Droughts and floods may seem like polar opposites, but they can leave the same problems in their wake. Not being able to find food when you need it can be very scary. As we like to say around here, the best time to get prepared is yesterday. The second best time is now.

    How have you prepared for flooding? Droughts? What is the most important thing for you to do to get ready? Let us know in the comments!

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Food Storage Tagged With: Boston, drought, flood, Winter

  • The Best Winter Ever!

    If you have friends in the Northeast, your Facebook and Instagram feeds have probably been saturated with images of snow piled disturbingly high on sidewalks and in yards, or buried cars and blocked doorways. And yet, somehow, these images are not complaints. This may be the one of the snowiest winters on record, but New Englanders are no strangers to harsh weather. And while some of us get twitchy just reading about school closures, our friends under several feet of snow seem to be having a pretty good time of it.

    If you’re one of those soft Westerners who cancels park days when it’s cloudy, take a page out of New England’s handbook, and consider the…

    Top 10 Reasons 2015 is the Best Winter Ever

    1. busesSnow days. You’re eleven years old, and you have a book report due tomorrow that you haven’t started. What could possibly give you more joy than to watch heavy, fluffy flakes falling outside your window? While the rest of the country suffers through math quizzes and cafeteria lunches, untethered children all over the Northeast are sledding through a winter wonderland. (Public service message: don’t forget the hand and foot warmers!)
    2. Snow angels are cute. Snowmen are fun. Snow forts are awesome. But full-scale snow castles are epic.
    3. Community spirit. Boston’s mayor Martin Walsh recently noted, “The residents of the city are very special. Just watching everyone help each other, that’s what I love seeing about the snow.” Mayor Walsh was referring Boston, but he could have been talking about any of the dozens of cities covered in snow right now—especially Crewe, Virginia, where Tommy Adam’s good deed got him noticed nationwide.
    4. Glen in Tennessee finally gets to use his generator. A post on Instapundit.com points out that “preparedness pays.” Two days after Valentine’s Day, Glen Reynolds reported that the “power’s out, but the generator kicked in and we have heat, lights, Internet and TV. Here’s to hoping that it comes back on soon, so that other folks aren’t stuck in the dark, but right now Helen, who was slightly dubious, is very pleased.” See, Helen? Haven’t we been saying this for years?
    5. shovelSnowExercise. I mean, real exercise. Like, three straight weeks of full-body cardio.
    6. Florida never looked better. In fact, the good sports over at the Ithaca, NY, tourism board agree. Rather than trying to entice people to head north with promises of igloo rentals and Yeti sightings (like some people in Boston are actually doing!), Ithaca’s tourism website officially—and hilariously—“invites you to visit the Florida keys this week. Please come back when things thaw out.”
    7. Food storage rotation. What better time to eat your way through all that 2014 canned food than several weeks without a clear route to the grocery store?
    8. Slow the pace. Isn’t it kind of nice sometimes to have a break in the routine? Or, at least, to have an excuse to slough off all the errands you keep meaning to do and just sit next to the heater vent and drink hot chocolate all afternoon? A friend of mine from Maine has finished approximately seven full-sized quilts since the snow began to fall. (She’s also predicting a New England baby boom round about September of this year.)fabricPatterns
    9. creaturesRare creatures are stirring. And no, I’m not talking about MIT students whose labs are closed. An anonymous Twitter user has adopted the moniker, “the Boston Yeti” and is posting mysterious photos of him-/her-/itself all over the region. (Another public service message: If you’re going to don a one-piece costume and traipse around town in a blizzard, I’m really serious about those hand and foot warmers!)
    10. And finally, pandas. No kidding, if you haven’t watched the National Zoo’s Bao Bao frolic in the flakes, you haven’t really experienced this winter.

    So, how’s your winter going? What are you loving about the weather in your area? It goes without saying (but I’ll say it again anyway…), if you’re sufficiently prepared, you can enjoy any kind of weather. So, what kinds of preparations are you making so that you can enjoy the extremes in your local weather including the odd whiteout?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Winter, food storage

  • Weathering the Worst of Winter Storms

    1_28_15 Weathering the Worst of Winter StormsThe torrential blizzard predicted to bury New York City turned out to be just delightful snow flurries dusting the iconic Manhattan landmarks. For Boston and the rest of New England, however, Winter Storm Juno lived up to its headliner forecast, dumping 3 feet of snow and more before moving on.

    For every American living in snow country, however, Juno served as a wake-up call, reminding us that the best time to prepare for the "big one" is while the sun is shining, before dark clouds appear on the Weather Service radar and time is running out.

    These simple tips will help you get ready for the next time the snow piles up, the power goes out, the roads are closed, and help may be days away.

    Before the Storm...

    ...Put Together a 72-Hour Kit
    The first three days after a big storm are the toughest. With roads closed and walkways buried, running to the store is dangerous, if not impossible. In addition to paralyzing snow and ice, winter storms often cause widespread power outages and broken water pipes. So, a useful 72-hour kit should contain water, heat, light and communications, as well.
    Here is a short list of the types of things you'll likely need until you can venture out after a big winter storm:

    Keeping your Storm Kit in a sturdy backpack makes it ready to go in times when you need to evacuate. Keeping your Storm Kit in a sturdy backpack makes it ready to go in times when you need to evacuate.
    •  Three days of non-perishable foods like canned goods, dried fruits, nuts, and freeze-dried meals
    • A manual can opener
    • Three days of water (at least three gallons per person)
    • First-aid kit, with essential prescription medicines
    • Flashlights, candles and light sticks
    • Cell phone, with hand-crank charger
    • Portable radio or NOAA weather radio
    • Extra radio and flashlight batteries
    • Baby-care items
    • Pet supplies
    • Extra blankets and sleeping bags
    • A fire extinguisher

    Keep in mind that if your workplace is a long commute from home, you'll need the same items at the office (minus baby and pet supplies, perhaps). Plus, keeping an Emergency Car Kit in your trunk will assure you're ready if weather conditions force you to wait for help along the roadside.

    Some simple household chores will help you avoid some serious winter storm damage. Some simple household chores will help you avoid some serious winter storm damage.

    ...Get Your House Ready

    A few regular home maintenance tasks can do more than just keep a neat home. They can also protect you and your family in the event of a big snowfall or ice storm, as well.

    Take time to see to the following:

    • Ice, snow and wind can snap tree limbs down onto the roof, windows and power lines. Trim away tree branches close to your home.
    • Keep rain gutters clean. Otherwise, snow and ice can build up and allow water to seep under the roof and eaves causing damage to walls and ceilings.
    • See that smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are working and store fresh batteries.
    • Have your chimney flue checked and cleaned, if necessary, to lessen the risk of fire.
    • Make sure your home is properly insulated. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows to keep out cold air.
    • Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside to provide insulation.
    • Wrap pipes in insulating foam to keep them from freezing. Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing.
    • Know how to safely shut off gas, electric power and water valves.
    • Check your homeowner's insurance policy to ensure adequate coverage.

    ...Plan for Lights Out

    We all know that, even in the best of times, power outages are not uncommon. While the occasional unplanned candle-lit evening is a charming break from the routine, extended power outages particularly in stormy weather can present significant problems even dangers. These simple steps can further prepare your family for blackouts, whenever they occur:

    Weathering the Worst of Winter Storms3

    • Power sensing flashlights come on automatically when the power goes out. Plug-in a few around your home. Candles and light sticks should be a prep staple, as well.
    • Furnaces, even gas and oil-fired ones, cannot operate without electricity to power the blowers. An indoor rated kerosene or propane heater will keep living spaces livable.
    • Keep a bit of cash stashed in a safe place, since stores and other services (if they are open) will not be able to process credit and debit cards.
    • Make a practice of refilling your car's tank at the half-empty point. This assures you will have at least a tank half-full when electric gas pumps won't operate.
    • Store ice packs that can be moved into the fridge, or into a small cooler for meds.
    • Know how to release garage door openers so that you can manually open your garage.

    Juno reminds us that winter weather can be hard to forecast. But we can all predict that we'll each take our turn being caught in a dangerous storm. These few simple steps can mean the difference between frantically surviving and comfortably weathering your next winter storm.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Current Events, Survival, Winter

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