December 5, 2016

How to Prepare for Winter Storms


We have snow in the forecast this week. Some of you have already had snow, but there's plenty more to come. Even here in Oklahoma we can have a blizzard or two, and ice storms are a given.


Ice storms are more likely to interrupt our electric service. We've been without power for days at a time in the past; we weathered it well because we were stocked up with food and supplies.


Both snow and ice impact our homestead though. We have livestock to keep warm and fed. So when there's a storm in the forecast, I go into super-preparedness mode.

How to prepare for winter storms



We have food and water on hand, but if there are any immediate needs we head to town long before the day the weather will hit. If you wait until the last minute you'll likely find empty shelves when you get to the store.

Make sure you have:

  • enough food to last at least a week (we check the "power's out" kit in case we need to replace things)
  • livestock feed
  • dog and/or cat food
  • bottled water
  • batteries for flashlights and weather radio
  • fuel for your heat source and, if you have one, the generator
  • lamp oil if you have oil lamps


While you're in town, top off your gas tank.



At home, do the following:

  • move hay and feed to a dry place that's easy for you to access during storms
  • move snow shovels inside the garage or mudroom where you can reach them easily
  • gather water containers that you can use to haul water to livestock, keep indoors or in garage
  • fill containers (such as empty canning jars and cleaned-out juice bottles) with water for drinking
  • gather the components for a straw box cooker and keep in the house or garage
  • provide fresh, clean bedding for animals and poultry
  • fill feeders and water troughs
  • I stash a small sledge hammer under the horses' trough so I can break the ice


Before the storm hits:

  • cook something! I like to put a hearty meal in the crockpot, and bake bread before the storm hits
  • do the dishes and laundry. If the power goes out, you'll have clean dishes and clothes.
  • charge cell phones (if needed, you can recharge them with a car charger later on)
  • keep your weather radio, flashlights, candles and matches, and other items in a convenient place


I keep an notebook and pen handy so that I can journal about the storm, what we did, what worked and what didn't, and what I've learned from the storm. I reread these notes each winter and especially when storms are predicted. For instance, I've learned from experience that I need to shovel snow away from gates often during a storm so that I can open the gates and tend to the livestock. I had to climb fences after one storm!




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10 comments:

  1. Great tips!! Having been raised a northern gal, these southern winters are still frustrating to me! We are having to build more swales today to keep the standing water away from the barns.. sigh.. I never in my wildest dreams thought a Texas winter would mean non stop cold rain with wind! Stay safe and warm! Best wishes to ya'll!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, lots of cold rain and LOTS of wind here too. We'll have arctic weather this week; I hope you are warmer in Texas!

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  2. Anonymous3:17 PM

    You've pretty much nailed it, Kathi! I don't have your large livestock but I do all the same stuff (mallet instead of sledge hammer for the smaller chicken & duck pans). I also put a flashlight and oil lantern in every single room, since I don't know where I'll be when the power goes out. In addition to checking on all the rechargeable batteries, I make SURE that the solar batteries are topped off because 3 days without sun will drain them. It's only a 'half' solar setup so while I can use lights, washer, etc. when a serious storm is around I use it only for the water pump, the fridge & freezer. Jan in NWGA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a good tip about the solar batteries, Jan, thank you for sharing it.

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  3. All great suggestions. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Great suggestions and I have been doing that too! I don't have livestock just a place in the suburbs, but we always have to be ready for a power failure. We've had power out for as long as 10 days but luckily that was in September so we were not cold.
    Dread a winter power fail.

    ReplyDelete
  5. very useful post, Here in Texas, winter means little colder weather. Not much as North.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But still colder than summer. :-)

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