How to Prepare for Winter Storms


How to prepare for winter storms. We start preparing as soon as a storm is in the forecast.
 
We have snow in the forecast this week. Yes, even here in Oklahoma we have an occasional snowstorm. We've had a few big blizzards over the years, 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 have an impact on 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


How to prepare for winter storms.

We always 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 a list and stock up on necessities you might need. While you're in town, top off your gas tank.


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Before the storm, make sure you have these on hand


  • 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 the generator if you have one
  • lamp oil if you have oil lamps


How to prepare for winter storms.


At home, do the following:

  • move hay and feed to a dry place that's easy 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 mallet or hammer under the horses' water trough so I can break the ice if my electric tank heater isn't working


How to prepare for winter storms.


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 in the car later on)
  • keep your weather radio, flashlights, candles and matches, and other items in a convenient place

I keep a 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 go out several times during a storm to shovel snow away from gates. I can't swing open the gates and tend to the livestock if the snow is deep. I had to climb fences after one storm!

We don't have epic storms every year - or any snow at all some years - so it's easy to forget what impact a large snow or ice storm has on our homestead. My notes keep me from being taken by surprise.

What do you do to prepare before a storm hits?





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How to prepare for winter storms. Don't wait until the day the storm hits!


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Snow on pine trees after a snowstorm - how to prepare for a snowstorm.

16 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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    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

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    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.

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

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    1. But still colder than summer. :-)

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  6. Happy New Year, Kathi! This is definitely a very timely post, especially with all the storms everyone seems to have been having this year. Even we got snow here in the UK! Sharing on the Hearth and Soul Facebook page. Hope to see you at the first Hearth and Soul Link Party of the year later today!

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  7. Great tips, Kathi! We prepare for storms in November and stay prepared until the end of March, at least. Our wood stove is a life saver!

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  8. Chris4:39 PM

    We always have most of those things in full supply. WOOD for us here in Northern Michigan to feed the starving woodstove! Winter is 7-8 months of the year here. You did remind me to have a few extra (laundered) blankets around close to block open areas & doorways to the living room in case of power outage. Another couple to wrap the fish tanks in. Snug as a bug in that small room. You also reminded me to get out the new AlexaPur Pro so I can purify the creek water in power outage. We keep 100 gallons in the house year 'round, but even more important in winter. We have about 6 inches of snow and 39 mile per hour gusts blowing.

    Thank you for the reminders my friend! Time to heat the chili I made 2 days ago and snuggle in front of the fire. Life is GOOD! Let it snow!

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  9. Great tips! Now that we live in Oregon and not in the mountains we rarely get snow, I actually miss the storms we used to get in Vermont!

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    1. I can understand that, Nancy. There's a peacefulness after the storm IF you were prepared beforehand, and living in Vermont I'm sure you had all the bases covered.

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  10. I love all of the winter photo's. Thank you from sharing.

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