I know I shouldn’t complain. There are many people without power, homes, belongings, and material possessions who have had their lives turned upside down because of the winter storms that have swept throughout our nation. The northern part of the United States is better prepared for these types of storms than the south. The reason is that they get hammered by brutal storms frequently while the south is sporadic. The thing that amazes me is how people drive on ice.
I understand that there are people who feel that if you can’t drive on snow or ice, you should stay home. I concur. But sometimes, that isn’t an option. When people tailgate on your butt, it’s annoying, but worse than that, it’s dangerous. I’m always astounded at the folks who decide to drive fast on ice. Sometimes I think they would be beautiful contenders for America’s Funniest Videos. I’m sure there are quite a few folks who would agree with me. In all seriousness, I wish people would slow down in these storms.
The area I live in doesn’t usually have to contend with tornados and hurricanes, but those storms are ruthless when we do. I think one of the scariest feelings I’ve ever had to face was when a tornado was right over me at work and I was working in a building that was full of metal and windows. There wasn’t a safe place for me to hide. The doors to the office swung open like I was a sitting duck. I think I had a guardian angel looking over my shoulder that day. I heard the sound of the ghostly train that the tornado called and prayed as I had never prayed before. The devastation took its toll on the community as many people perished in the storm. Flooding and high winds had damaged multiple buildings, and the community is still rebuilding after several years.
Many regions in the United States have prepared people for storms. The south is a little different. The further south you go, the warmer the temperatures usually are. I have an excellent friend who doesn’t do cold weather well. She moved to Florida to get away from the frigidity and winter storms Michigan produces. She would be among the first to tell you that she can drive on snow but doesn’t like to, and if there’s ice, you can forget her going anywhere. I understand how she feels.
There are many low-lying areas in the Southern states. We have many wetlands, and while they can be beautiful, people forget that they can be dangerous. In the last few years, alligators have become visible in places that we never saw before. I have heard that because of the storms, nature is migrating.
I thought it might be a good reminder for everyone how to ensure as much safety as possible for you and your loved ones. I hope this helps.
Make a Plan.
It does not matter what kinds of storms you may encounter; plan to save your home and life.
- Write down emergency phone numbers and keep them on the refrigerator or near every phone in your house. Program them into your cell phone too.
- Prepare an emergency supply kit. This kit might include batteries, water, candles, blankets, non-perishable food, flashlight, etc. The point is to become prepared.
- Do not go anywhere you do not need to. This process could be crucial if there is snow or ice on the road.
Gather emergency supplies.
During and after a storm, you may need supplies to keep your family safe and healthy. Remember, you might not be able to drive anywhere during a storm. The roads might become blocked due to trees or poles being down, and people may have wrecked; there could be several reasons.
This rationale is why it is best to become prepared—stock up on everything you might need now. Be sure to prepare the following:
- Emergency food and water supply.
- An emergency medicine supply.
- Emergency power sources such as flashlights (do not forget extra batteries).
- Blankets, warm clothing, and any other personal items you might need.
Know the difference between a winter storm, “watch,” and “warning.”
Listen for National Weather Service alerts on TV or radio or check for them online. There are two kinds of alerts:
- A winter storm watch means storm conditions (A Winter Storm Watch is issued when there is the potential for significant and hazardous winter weather within 48 hours. It does not mean that substantial and dangerous winter weather will occur – it only means it is possible.
- A winter storm warning is more serious. A watch is upgraded to a winter storm warning when four or more snow or sleet inches becomes expected in the next 12 hours or six or more inches in 24 hours, or a quarter-inch or more of ice accumulation is projected.
You can always check with the National Weather Service to find out about any warnings in your area. Or you can check out their website at https://www.weather.gov/.
Get your car ready.
- Make sure you have gas in your car along with flashlights, warm blankets, water, and anything else you might need. When winter weather attacks, it might take emergency personnel extra time to get to you. You need to protect yourself from the harsh elements. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged, and if you have a backup battery, that might come in handy.
Get your home ready.
- You can make provisions for some things. Some people have put items to help catch the snow and ice. If you are on well water, you might want to leave some buckets outside to hold any water so you can flush toilets.
- Keep batteries and flashlights handy. If you lose power, you will need them. Do not open the fridge and freezer unless you have to. This action will keep your items from spoiling faster.
- If you have pets, keep them inside during harsh ice storms. They may have fur, but they get cold too. Some of these temperatures could kill them.
Keep an eye on the weather reports.
The newscasters are not always my favorite people to listen to, but they can keep you informed about conditions you did not know. If you have a weather radio that operates on batteries, you might want to keep informed about it.
Regardless of where you live, I hope you do not encounter nasty storms, but the reality is that we all experience them sooner or later.
I found most of this information online and through the school of hard knocks. I hope you all stay safe while these storms cross our paths. You do not have to live in the south to experience them. It would be best if you were prepared for when they come.
Be safe, everyone.