The first snowfall of 2019 has come to my town with the predictable warnings of impending doom in the form of plunging low temperatures, icy road conditions, commuter traffic slowdowns, and one entire inch of accumulation.
Having lived for over a decade in Colorado’s Mile High City, I don’t consider an inch of snow deposited on warm pavement to be very alarming. Still, it does remind a prepper to review the winter stores and perhaps rotate some stock.
In Colorado, veteran residents kept tire chains, snow tires, plows, and Bobcats handy for the annual Facing of the Snow.
Americans in every state have their own ideas about how to prepare for any snowpocalypse Mother Nature (or government weather engineers?) cares to throw at us.
Emery Rakestraw from North Carolina, where “it’s pitch black by 6 p.m. and maybe we all have a case of the winter blues from time to time,” shared his tips for having fun while snowbound.
- Get plenty of comfort foods and drinks. If you like cream in your coffee, get more than you normally do – ideally, before the storm hits. Don’t forget the cocoa mix and teas as well as some good booze (if you imbibe).
- Party on! Once the flurries have settled, invite a few select pals over for some yule-tide sharing of the bounty you got just for this purpose. Making snow angels and snow sculptures, throwing snowballs, and catching flakes on your tongue are all celebrations of life that will knit tight bonds.
- Sledding is a must. If the first snowfall caught you sledless, improve with an old garbage can lid, cafeteria tray, hubcap or inflated rubber inner tube. You’ll get the best deals on sleds in the summertime but don’t let that stop you from going downhill fast.
- Shun the roads. Because inexperienced drivers tend to panic and cause wrecks. Snuggle up at home in front of a roaring fire (or space heater) with a good book or electronic device and let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. You can read all about the poor fools who thought they were above the laws of physics.
- Jump a bonfire. If your locality allows public burning (mine does, I’m happy to say), cold weather is the perfect time to torch all your garden rakings, sawed tree limbs, and slightly-used Christmas trees. Why not invite the neighbors to a cheery bonfire? Caroling is optional. BYO libations.
- Outdoor sports. When it snows, it sports. Snowboarding, skiing, and snow tubing appeal to many outdoorsy folks, as does visiting a frozen waterfall or other get-away destination.
- Indoor activities. When it’s time to chuck the coats, boots, scarves, and hats, consider taking a chocolate or cheese factory tour or go shopping. Visit a museum, art gallery or brewery.
- Take advantage of warmer days. In North Carolina, the air can go from freezing to 80F in 24 hours. This opens up a realm of recreational opportunities, including:
- Discount beach visits with no crowds, stunning sunrises and sunsets, and lower rental rates
- Hiking along open portions of the Blue Ridge Parkway
In Indiana, Courtney Johnston observed that residents are in deep denial about the Fact of Winter and continue wearing shorts and sandals in freezing temps. Local survival tips may apply to your neighborhood so a word to the wise:
- You parks on the street, you takes your chances. Of being plowed under. Keep battery-powered heated gloves and two sturdy snow scrapers – one for each hand – by the exit door so they aren’t trapped inside the frigid vehicle. You’ll probably want a strong snow shovel or blower to boot.
- You parks in your garage, you still takes your chances. The snowplows pile up crusty snowdrifts anywhere they find room – including right in front of your garage door.
- “Snow days? We ain’t got no stinkin’ snow days.” That might as well be the Indiana state motto, apparently, because adults go to work and kids go to school despite the snowy drifts.
- Beware the Hurling Traffic Snow. Realize while driving in snowy conditions that large chunks of snow and ice may slide off the roof or trunk of the car in front of you and plop right down on your windshield. Be sure your wipers work well and winterize your ride by treating yourself to new wiper blades and top up the windshield fluid.
Hopefully, these winter survival tips will come in handy, even if you’ve already tasted the first snow. Happy winter!