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Are You Prepared for the Coming Harsh Winter?

Updated on January 20, 2016

Winter Will Be Here Soon

Autumn is a beautiful time of year, spoiled by only one thing, the knowledge that winter will be here soon. If you live in a temperate climate,it's not that important, however, if you live in an area of snow and cold that's a whole different matter. The Old Farmers Almanac has predicted that this winter will be "super cold" with the possibility of above normal snowfall for the midwest and eastern US.

This is not a joke or a hoax. If you think it is, please watch the video below. The Old Farmers Almanac has been predicting the weather for 223 years with 80% accuracy.

Harsh Winter Coming

Preparation is Essential

Have you ever gone to the store right before a big snowstorm? If so, I am sure you were surprised to see empty shelves, long checkout lines, maybe even people fighting over who was there first to buy things like salt, show shovels, bottled water and canned food.Sometimes they even try to grab other peoples purchases in the parking lot, fights break out and people can get hurt. It is a dangerous situation when people wait till the last minute to prepare for bad weather and they can't get what they need.

This is not a situation you want to be in, so the time to get what you need to keep you and your family safe, warm and fed, is now.

What Do You Need to Be Prepared?

The five most important things that you need are:

  1. Alternative Heat Source
  2. Light
  3. Food and Water
  4. Warm Clothing
  5. Means of Communication

Let's go over them one at a time and I will show you what I use and recommend.

1. Alternative Heat Source

If your home is heated by electricity, or a furnace lit by electronic ignition, you will lose your heat during a power outage. Unless you have a wood stove, it is important that you have another source of heat. Whatever you do, NEVER use a heater that is meant to be used outdoors, like a kerosene heater, torpedo heater or barbecue grill. The fumes from these devices will build up in your house and can kill you.

I bought in indoor safe small propane heater called Mr. Heater Buddy. I easily heats one large room if you close the doors. It will keep my living room comfortable, if you wear a sweater and is the best heater I have found for emergency use. I always crack a window a little bit, just to be safe and I don't leave it on unattended. It does the job whenever I needed it and I highly recommend it. Don't forget to buy propane bottles, and if you buy large propane tanks, you will need to buy the adapter hose as well.

2. Light

When you have no power there are three ways to provide light.

1. Flashlights - Not practical in the long term

2. Candles - Inexpensive, but provides very little light unless you use many at once

3. Oil Lamp - The least expensive and provides the most light

I recommend using oil lamps if you need light during a power outage. The amount of light can be adjusted, there is no open flame and they are easy to carry around without going out. Don't forget to stock up on lamp oil and extra wicks!

Oil Lamp

Stansport Hurricane High Oil Lantern (Red, 12-Inch)
Stansport Hurricane High Oil Lantern (Red, 12-Inch)

Metal and glass construction

12 inches tall

Carry handle or hanging loop

Easy access to oil tank


3. Food and Water

As I stated above, it is important to stock up on food and water before a major storm because you don't want to have to go out and try to buy some just prior, or during a major storm. If the weather is really bad then the trucks are unable to deliver food to stores, so that means that they will run out of many items in a day or two. To lower costs, most stores only carry two days of stock at any given time, so when people start panic buying, the shelves are bare almost immediately. Can goods and bottled water will be the first things to go, so buy yours now and you can relax.

A person needs about two liters of water a day, so keep that in mind when stocking up. You can buy 5 gallon containers of water to store or you can buy cases of bottled water. If you are stuck without stored water, or you run out, you can melt snow for water, but if you do this, make sure to boil the melted snow for a minimum of one minute, to purify it, before you drink it. Do not eat snow directly for the water because it can be contaminated and will make it hard for your body to maintain heat.

There are two ways of stocking up on food for emergencies. You can buy rice and beans and can goods at a regular grocery store and store them. If you do this, make sure your non-canned food is sealed in airtight, insect and critter proof buckets. This method of food stocking takes up quite a bit of room, and you will need some shelves to put them on. They also need to be rotated with fresh can-goods at least once a year. Can goods do not stay good forever, most have a shelf life of only two years at the most.

The easiest way to stock up on food is to buy a few buckets of emergency goods. The quality of the meals in these buckets has improved radically in the last decade, and most of them are actually quite good. I prefer Augason Farms brand, their food is tasty as well as better priced than other brands. The best part is, all you have to do is add boiling water and stir and you have a hot meal. You will appreciate the simplicity of this way of feeding your family in an emergency. You can also take comfort in the knowledge that they are made with quality ingredients and will keep you and your family healthy and well fed during a crisis. Another reason I like these buckets is that if you are forced to leave your home, they are easy to grab and take with you.

Video - 30 Day Food Storage Pail Augason Farms Review

4. Warm Clothing

If you do any type of outdoor sports or hiking, you probably already have the clothing you need to stay warm if you lose your heat in a storm. If you don't, then you need to stock up on long underwear, wool socks, and clothing you can layer like sweatshirts and pants, hoodies, leggings, coats, gloves and hats. A good pair of waterproof boots is also a must.

It's also a good idea to have thermal sleeping bags, if possible. During a winter power outage, you will need to pick one room to heat and live in. Cover the windows with blankets and camp out on the floor in sleeping bags. Thermal sleeping bags are designed to keep your body heat in and are perfect for keeping you warm in an emergency situation.

5. Means of Communication

If you lose power, then you will lose your TV, internet and eventually cellphone. You do not want to be caught with no means to keep in touch with what is going on in the outside world. Make sure you have a good quality battery powered radio and plenty of extra batteries. It's important that you know what is going on outside your home, and keep advised of any evacuations, or power restoration information. Make sure you are aware of the dial location of several local all news channels and check them several times a day.

Battery Operated Radio

Panasonic RF-2400 AM / FM Radio, Silver
Panasonic RF-2400 AM / FM Radio, Silver

Large numbers for easy tuning

FM/AM Separate Dials

Large speakers

Operated on batteries or plug in

Cylinder type tuning knob


Keep Your Cellphone Charged

You may want to invest in a solar charger for your cell phone. Unfortunately, in the midst of a really bad snow storm they will not be of much use, since the sun isn't out. However, after the storm is over, you may have some sun and if so, you can use it to charge your phone or tablet.

I bought one of these to have for emergencies and I find myself using it quite a bit. It's small enough to carry in your back pack or book bag and comes in handy if you like to hike or spend time outdoors. I find it to be a very worthwhile thing to have and I recommend it.

Solar Charger

Anker 8W Single-Port Portable Foldable Outdoor Solar Charger with PowerIQ Technology
Anker 8W Single-Port Portable Foldable Outdoor Solar Charger with PowerIQ Technology

PowerIQ technology is compatible with Android, Apple and other devices by enabling charge speeds of up to 1 amp per port in direct sunlight.

Dimensions: 9.25 × 6.69 inches \ 23 × 16cm folded or 19.2 × 9.1in \ 49 × 23cm opened

Eyeholes allow easy attachment to backpacks while hiking.

PET plastic faced solar panels in polyester canvas for outdoor durability.



Submit a Comment

  • SandyMertens profile image

    Sandy Mertens 3 years ago from Frozen Tundra

    Good information on preparing for the winter. We do have old snowy ones here.

  • Gloriousconfusion profile image

    Diana Grant 3 years ago from United Kingdom

    Just the information people needed before the exceptional cold spell in the USA - hope people took your advice in good time to stock up! It's not all that cold yet in London where I live - 11 degrees and no frost yet.

  • profile image

    S-N-S 3 years ago

    Thanks for the great information. I can't wait for you to try it and post how it tasted. I have been thinking a lot lately about getting an emergency food and water supply together. I wonder if they have anything like this for pets too. I know that I don't carry a 30 day supply for my pets

  • Arachnea profile image

    Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

    I feel certain we'll have a hard winter here. I may have to start stocking my kitchen again. We've had way too much needed rain this summer to get off as easily as having a mild winter.

  • bwhite062007 profile image

    Brianna W 3 years ago from East Coast

    Great and useful information. I live in one of the areas that supposedly will be impacted by a bad winter this year. We need tips like these!

  • Hezekiah profile image

    Hezekiah 3 years ago from Japan

    I hope not here in Japan, we had the harshest winter and biggest snowfall for a record of 25 years.

  • emi sue profile image

    Emily Lantry 3 years ago from Tennessee

    Great content. I have also heard that this is going to be a bad winter. Thanks for the tips on how to be prepared for what is to come!

  • indanila profile image

    Inda Blackwell 3 years ago from Hampton Roads

    Oh no!!! Guess I better get prepared! Love the solar charger..great gift idea.

  • Wendy L Henderson profile image

    Wendy Henderson 3 years ago from PA

    Great Tips! Thanks for sharing.

  • LindaSarhan profile image

    L Sarhan 3 years ago

    Great tips and advice!

  • Jadelynx-HP profile image

    Tracey Boyer 3 years ago from Michigan

    The Old Farmer's Almanac is far from being just entertainment. They have been predicting the weather for 223 years, and are right 80% of the time. I bet that is a better average than the local new channels!

  • Lissa Ree profile image

    Lissa Ree 3 years ago from Wilmington, Delaware

    I am definitely not looking forward to this winter!

  • Rock_nj profile image

    John Coviello 3 years ago from New Jersey

    Good advice for preparing for and getting through a harsh winter, but the Farmer's Almanac is just for entertainment. They throw guess out there, and sometimes they are right by coincidence.

  • tracy159 profile image

    Tracy Smith 3 years ago from Maryville, TN

    I live in TN and I saw the birds going south a month ago. We don't normally see that here and I haven't seen a sight like that since I was in Ohio. I think we are going to have a very white Christmas this year. Working in the cable industry that also means a very busy year.

  • Seanspage profile image

    Sean H 3 years ago from USA

    Great info. But just how credible is the Old Farmer Almanac?

  • profile image

    BarbaraCasey 3 years ago

    We don't worry about snow here in Florida, but I like the idea of a solar cell phone charger for hurricane season.

  • WiccanSage profile image

    Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

    Great tips; I live in the subtropics so it doesn't get bad here but I'll be keeping my friends up north in my prayers. Great warning.

  • Snakesmum profile image

    Jean DAndrea 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

    It's Spring in Australia, and where I live, I've seen snow once in over 35 years, and then it didn't stick around. We are heading for a very hot Summer, which I'm not looking forward to at all!

    I do believe in being prepared, and there are always a few cans of food, and a spare for the water filter in the cupboard.

  • Brite-Ideas profile image

    Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    I heard this too, and although I don't mind the cold, in fact, I sort of love it, I can't stomach the hydro bills!! Sure hope it's not too too bad - because all the boys like the house a bit cold, so if it's tolerable, the heat stays off!

  • Lady Lorelei profile image

    Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

    I saw this on the news about a week ago and just thought, "Oh no". This summer was pretty rough for its extreme temperatures so I am not looking forward to the winter too much.

  • Paula Atwell profile image

    Paula Atwell 3 years ago from Cleveland, OH

    Great for the upcoming winter weather. :) Not quite ready for it yet.

  • Elsie Hagley profile image

    Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

    A lot of helpful information, which is very important because nobody really knows what winter will bring, best to be prepared.

    It is spring in NZ and today we have a snow report that doesn't look good for the centre of the north island hope they are wrong, I hate the winter weather.

  • profile image

    Scott A McCray 3 years ago

    Good information - preparedness is critical year 'round. Had not seen the Mr. Heater Buddy before - glad to know about it!

  • boutiqueshops profile image

    Sylvia 3 years ago from Corpus Christi, Texas

    This is great information for preparedness, whether it's for Winter or pretty much any natural disaster. Love it!