Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Snow Day in the South

The snowstorm that went through Texas last week was predicted to hit Georgia on Friday afternoon. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical. In the (almost) six years we've lived here, we've seen snow two times, and only for a few minutes in small flurries. Having grown up in Utah, I'm not easily impressed when it comes to snowfall.

I talked to Aleasha Friday morning as she was heading out to the store. The last thing I wanted to do was join the crowds in the grocery stores buying up supplies.

Even though I was skeptical of the storm, I did a quick inventory in my mind. I had done my weekly grocery shopping on Wednesday and we had plenty of perishables (milk, eggs, etc) and I wasn't worried about the non-perishables. Although my 3-month supply isn't complete, it is more than enough to last us through a weekend of snow.

It started to snow early afternoon. My girls ran out to catch snowflakes on their tongues, but I still didn't believe it would stick.

At this point I decided, we might get a decent storm. Still, I wasn't worried about being snowed in. I knew we had plenty of bottled water and food.

At this point, Mountain Man made a comment about the possibility of losing power. I scoffed at this, but he said that trees in the south were not made to withstand snow. He pointed out that the boughs of our trees were already bending with the weight of the snow. If a tree fell onto a power line, it could knock out the power.

Then I started to do a power outage inventory. I still wasn't nervous (Utah girl here, remember?) but knew I needed to be prepared. I plugged in both our cell phones and the lap top (for movies of course!) so they would have a full charge. I double checked that the matches were near the candles, and set some candles out for the dinner table for fun. Power outages can be fun for kids if you play them right. I did a mental check for blankets, we have lots, and we could all sleep in one room for warmth if need be. I knew we had plenty of fuel and Mountain Man's backpacking stove in the garage if we needed to heat up meals.

After I'd run over these things in my head, I knew we'd be okay for an extended period of time. So I just settled down and enjoyed the novelty of snow in the South.

It turned out that, although the power flickered, we never actually lost it. And the roads were clear by the next morning, in fact most of the snow melted the next day. But I was able to enjoy the storm by knowing I had covered all my bases.

The neat thing is that because I was already physically prepared (by having blankets, fuel, food, and water). When the actual storm hit, all my preparation was mental. Then when my check was complete, I could help make the situation be fun for my kids. Even though we had power, we ate dinner by candle light and roasted marshmallows over the open flame.

Honestly, I wished the snow had lasted. How fun would it have been to be snowed in for a weekend! But I can say that knowing that we were prepared to enjoy it comfortably.

Besides the basics, what is something you personally want to have in the event of being snowed in? I admit, I checked how much cocoa powder and chocolate syrup we had.


Lisa in Bammer said...

My co-workers were running around town on their lunch breaks fighting the crowds at Wally World. Like you, I ran over in my head all the things I had and found that I could just go home and not worry. I didn't have to buy a single thing because I was already prepared.

Sadie said...

Flashlights and batteries are the biggest thing I want to have around when the power goes out. My kids are all afraid of the dark and have to sleep with a flashlight... and the batteries run out by morning or sometimes in the middle of the night. So I always make sure we have an ample supply of batteries and I know where all the flashlights (and the little flashlights for kids) are.

Anonymous said...

Sadie - consider getting LED flashlights for your kids - the batteries last WAY longer than conventional flashlights. You can also get ones that wind up and don't need batteries, although they can be a bit noisy if they are being wound up in the middle of the night.

lindaharper said...

I'm an Oregon gal who now lives in South Carolina. I made a mistake once 20 years ago going to the grocery store on an evening they happened to say, just maybe, we'd have some snow. I never made that mistake again. The lines to check out went to the back of the store! In our 35 years of marriage, we've always had food storage, etc. to weather those storms and anything else that may hit our family. It's amazing that most families don't look ahead to have a little bit more at home, even a week's worth!

Danielle said...

Sadie, there are a few flashlights on the market that are solar power. The kind we have were $30 for two at Costco, take batteries as a backup (so you don't end up without in an emergency), and actually have to be switched to the battery setting on purpose. They are also fairly small and lightweight.

If you used solar flashlights, you could just have the kids put them in the windowsill first thing in the morning, then never need batteries again.

As for the possibility of snow... here, life shuts down if we have more than an inch stick. I live about 45 minutes from the hottest part of the U.S. (Death Valley), and we get almost no snow. But we do have water and food that we could eat in a situation where we were without power, and at this time of year, it's cold enough to not worry about food too much and warm enough to throw a few blankets on the bed and let our toddler join us for the night.

We do, however, get flash floods occasionally. The last storm we had was on and off for several days. I was worried until it hit home that I've been doing what I can to prepare my family, and the Lord would protect us if we needed more help. It also helped us decide which direction to go next with our emergency preparedness.

Anonymous said...

We are also in Georgia, and on a well. The first thing I do is fill the bathtub with water to have a handy supply for flushing. We lost power for about 3 hours, but then it came back on. We are stocked up on food, but I do check and see that we have enough milk to last a couple of days. We have powdered milk, but we prefer fresh if we have it. The next item on our wish list is a propane heater, to use if we lose our power.
The snow in Georgia was wonderful!

CheerfulHeart2 said...

Great post. Great comments. Thank you everyone!

Anonymous said...

In a pinch the solar lights from your garden paths could be used as portable lighting. Most of them unscrew from their posts and can be set on a table and recharged the next day on a window sill. You can get 6-8 for less than $20 at the big box stores.