Snow-Maggedon 101 – How to Survive When the Power Goes Out
This week the New York, Boston and Philadelphia region is expecting a storm of historic preportions which will create blizzard conditions and dump up to 3 feet (close to 1 metre!) of snow over the next day and a half. Some 58 million people will be affected over a 200 mile area. I can’t even imagine. Schools and businesses have already been closed and states of emergency have been called in at least two states in preparation for the big dump.
I have to tell you, I don’t care for the snow. We lived in mountains of lake effect snow when we lived in Cleveland getting over 100″ of snowfall each of the winters we were there. It was a record breaking string of cold, snowy winters. How lucky for this Aussie girl, eh? Seriously, if I never have to bang my shoes together to shake the snow and salt off before I come into the house or slide into the car again it will be too soon. I feel for everybody up North. Ugh.
Here in Charlotte we are lucky to enjoy (relatively) mild weather. Last year was a big snow year for us where the kids got, I think, 5 snow days off from school (whoo hoo!). All it takes is a light dusting of snow for the whole Charlotte metro area to grind to a halt and close up until it melts. I thought everyone was crazy when we first moved down here after living in the SnowBelt for 5 years but they have good reason. Charlotte doesn’t have the snowplows, or salt spreaders, or block heaters to start the school buses in the mornings, things that cities that face terrible winter conditions use regularly to deal with all the snow and ice. We don’t normally need them in Charlotte and they would go largely unused year to year if we did – such a waste of resources! So we don’t have them. And when on the rare occasion we need snowplows and salt spreaders and block heaters we just close up shop and everyone stays home for the day. It is actually very civilized and quite lovely.
What we do get from time to time is ice storms. I’d never heard of an ice storm until we moved down here. An ice storm is when super cold rain freezes when it touches a surface producing a thick layer of ice over everything, causing telephone poles and trees to break and fall down due to all the extra weight. This, in turn, causes major power outages all across the city which can be life threatening during a cold winter. People here still talk about the big ice storm of 2002 where nearly 1 million Charlotteans were without power for days. Scary.
I’ve never had to put my ‘keep warm in the cold’ ideas in to practice and I hope (touch wood) that I’ll never have to but this is what I have planned should an ice storm (or whatever) cause long term power outages in our area during a cold winter period.
How to Survive a Snow-Maggedon Induced Power Outage
- I’m going to make use of our gas log fireplace. The gas lines (as I understand it) should still all work which means we could, theoretically, heat at least one room in our house. Now, the gas logs are more pretty than practical and really don’t generate a whole lot of heat but they will be better than nothing and I’m sure we’ll be grateful for them.
- I’ll need to conserve what heat we do generate and I’m going to do that by closing all the doors and windows to the office where the fireplace is, drawing all the curtains and blinds, and stuffing towels underneath the doors and around the window frames to prevent drafts.
- Next I will hang heavy blankets, carpets, doonas, whatever I can find in front of the doors and windows to cover them up. The glass panes in the doors and windows will be major conductors of heat and the main source of heat loss. The carpets and blankets will help to keep the heat inside.
- Everyone will sleep in the one warm room together. Our couch actually pulls out to be an (uncomfortable) fold-a-way bed and will sleep two. I’ll put extra doonas and blankets on the floor, maybe the kids mattresses, and whoever is left will sleep there in front of the fire in sleeping bags and blankets.
- We’ll all snuggle and play card games and board games by candlelight. Our grill is a gas grill and maybe we could cook something warm over it if someone (not me!) were game to go outside to do it. Otherwise it will be cold cuts and sandwiches for dinner. And breakfast and lunch, no doubt.
If you don’t have any gas and a way to keep warm other than using some electrical source then bring wine and come over to my house! We’ll all camp on the floor and have a party until Duke Power rescues us and turns the power back on. It’ll be fun (ish). Good luck to all those 58 million souls up in the North East! Thinking of you all.