So Denver is a couple of snowstorms into winter already; if you live in the mountains, you got a lot more snow. And all indications so far, thanks to El Nino, we’re going to be getting many more snow storms this winter.
And if you were growing your own garden this year, you may have found your yield to be a bit less than you would have liked due to it being too wet this year. This has been a world wide issue, so produce prices are already going up – and so are some meat prices. So how do you weather the storms and still eat well? In this couple of articles, we’ll talk about how to get through winter and heavy storms safely, healthily and well fed.
First things first – prepare your car. Whether you live in the mountains or the city, or travel between the two, there is always the possibility that you could get stuck somewhere you weren’t planning to be. Understanding that things are financially tight for some people right now, the ideals of dealing with a storm – having new snow tires, vehicle is 100% working shape, just staying home – just aren’t possible for everyone. But you can do some things to make things easier on yourself.
– Check your tires, see if they are inflated properly. If not, do so.
– Get an oil change and all your fluids topped off.
– Check your battery. If your battery light is running toward the low side, you could well need a new one. Can’t afford a new one? There are a couple of places about the city that do refurbished batteries for around $40 with a trade in of your old battery. These last usually about a year, and work as well as a new batter for much more. Having a low battery can cause your car to die in the middle of stand still traffic.
– Try to keep at least half a tank of gas in your car, for those dead stops when it takes hours to get home on a trip that usually takes minutes.
– Time to put a kit in your car – with the exception of water, which tends to freeze, you can keep most of this in your car. Put the water in a bag by the door or with the stuff you habitually carry out with you when you leave daily. All of this can fit into a smallish space, in the car itself or in your trunk.
- If you are wearing business attire for the day, carry a change of clothing. Jeans, boots, heavier coat, sweatshirt, heavier gloves, scarves – something you can change into in case the weather turns.
- A spare set of clothing anyway, just in case you need to spend the night somewhere besides home.
- Water – a couple bottles per person. You can, of course, use your own BPA free water containers for this,
- Food – easy open, high protein things, snacks, food you actually like to eat. In the event you get stuck in your car, this could make all the difference. Have enough for everyone you normally have in your car, or anticipate having in your car, for a couple of meals if needed.
- Pocket heater packs. These can be anywhere from the plastic ones you buy at Walmart or sporting goods stores, to the more expensive battery operated ones. Several for each person.
- A blanket or two – they don’t have to be great ones, just something that will help keep you warm if stuck.
- Entertainment – especially if you have kids with you.
- Your phone – today, nearly everyone in the country has a phone in their pocket. make sure your phone is charged before you leave the house EVERY day. make it a habit.
- Something to hang off the antenna or crimp in a window to let rescuers know there is someone in the vehicle.
- A flashlight.
- If possible, add a small shovel – a folding camp one works great. Some kitty litter or sand will help with ballast and can also be spread on the ground to get you out. Consider an extra carpeted car mat or a square of rug; put under a wheel, it can often provide enough traction to get unstuck.
- Sanitary items- toilet paper, diapers and wipes if transporting a baby or toddler – this is extras beyond what you usually carry in a diaper bag. it sucks to have to go to the bathroom outside in a storm, but think how much worse it would be without some TP!
- Have some spare cash on you if possible. That way, if you have to stop somewhere, you may be able to get a hotel room for the night, or at least a meal.
– Be content with going slow. November 20th storm on the mountain highways left people in traffic for 3 or more hours during prime driving time. It always easier to pay the babysitter/daycare more, clean up a pet mess from a pet that couldn’t wait, have a late dinner than be that person who tries to go too fast to get home and ends up spun out in a ditch or worse.
– Don’t hesitate to turn around. Use your judgment, look at the forecast, listen to local radio to see what road conditions are. Sometimes, it’s just better to go back home or work.
– If you are scared or feel unsafe, stop somewhere. Truck stops, grocery stores, fast food restaurants – many are open 24 hours, and most are used to extra people staying a while in bad storms.
– If you get stuck – stay with your car. Go out to make sure your exhaust pipe is clear, and turn off the vehicle, only running it every once in a while to keep the inside of the vehicle warm and keep your battery charge up. Don’t run things in the car that could drain the battery, like a built in DVD player. Don’t drain your phone battery by using it to play games or watch videos. Make a call to the emergency number so they can find you and get you to safety, call family to let them know you are OK, and stay with the car and preferably in the car.
– Leave work late. I know, this is vastly unpopular. But leaving work later, rather than with the rush of people heading out when the storm starts, or at rush hour, allows not only time for traffic to clear, but also time for plows and sand trucks to get through.
And of course, if the storm looks bad enough – stay home. Christmas presents can wait. Most work places are understanding. The kids can miss school for the day. Everyone would be happier knowing you are safe and sound at home, than worrying about your safety on the road. Make a day of it – teach the kids how to shovel snow, make cookies, play outside – even the adults; some of the best snowball fights happen between adults, or enough the beauty of the snow from inside.
Next, let’s talk about what to do if the storm is bad enough and you are stuck at home with no way to get out.