What to Do if You Are Stranded in Snowstorm on Highway

Snowstorms are typically not a surprise, but their intensity can take weather forecasters by surprise, which means you are also going to be caught off-guard. When you are traveling across a state or even just trying to commute home from work and a snowstorm wreaks havoc, you could find yourself stuck. Not stuck in a snowbank, but stuck on the freeway. Highway closures are very common when the state patrol determines the roadways are just too unsafe for people to use. If there have been a number of wrecks, slide-offs or a single serious accident, the road can be shut down for hours or even overnight.

This is why you must always be prepared to hang out in your car for hours. You never know when the road may close in front of you. There is no turning around or finding another way. You are stuck along with hundreds of others. The freeway because a giant parking lot.

Before you ever leave the house this winter, you should always be prepared. Even if you are just going to work the next town over. Rural highways are often the least maintained, which means you are at an increased risk of finding yourself stranded.

*Pack along a gallon of water. Avoid using milk jugs and either buy a few water bottles to keep in the car or one of the heavy-duty plastic containers.

*Carry energy bars and other snacks like beef jerky, trailmix and so on. If you are traveling with kids, make sure you have their favorite snacks to keep them entertained.

*Toilet paper. Yep, you are going to be using the bathroom along the highway. A little toilet paper will go a long way to making it a little better.

*Books or other entertainment items will be helpful to pass the time. You don’t want to drain the battery on your phone.

*A car charger for your cell phone or tablet. A portable charger is even better so you don’t have to use the car battery.

*A couple of wool blankets will help keep you warm. You won’t be able to have the car idling for hours—you will run out of gas.

*A flashlight will be needed if you need to go to the bathroom or you want to read. Again, you don’t want to run the car battery down by relying on the interior lights.

What an Extended Power Outage Looks Like

phone-210972_640The Pacific Northwest recently learned a very hard lesson about what a real downed power grid would look and feel like. A devastating windstorm swept through western Washington and eastern Washington before hitting north Idaho. Falling trees took out utility poles by the dozen, snapping them in two. The devastation left hundreds of thousands without power and because the damage was so extensive and so widespread, thousands of people went without power for a couple of weeks. They were not prepared and have suffered dearly.

Many preppers assume they are prepared, but in reality, a massive power grid failure is more than they could have ever comprehended. It isn’t just a couple of houses that are without power for a few days. Check out some of the things that happened in the days and weeks following the windstorm and how you can learn from the ill-prepared folks in the area.

1-Rural homes on their own wells could not get water. This meant they didn’t have water for themselves or their animals. Some people had the requisite 3 days of water on hand, but once that was gone, they were in a bad place.

2-Grocery stores were sold out of water within hours—that is the ones that were open. Most of the stores did not have electricity and closed up shop altogether. A couple of the smaller ones used calculators and sold what they could—it didn’t last long. And that was on a cash only basis. No ATMs were working and many of the banks were closed because they had no power.

3-The gas stations had no power, meaning no gas could be pumped. For the people that had generators, they couldn’t buy fuel to keep them running. Sure, there were towns 20 to 50 miles away that had some limited supplies, but for the folks that didn’t have enough gas in the car to get there, they were in trouble.

4-Canned food was wiped out in a matter of days. People were using campstoves to cook on, but it wasn’t long before they ran out of propane. Without refrigeration, food in the refrigerators and freezers was spoiling faster than people could eat it.canned food

5-The cold became a major concern for those who did not have wood heat. Many people were forced to take refuge in hotels 50 miles away because local motels had no vacancies. Guess what? Most hotels do not take pets, which meant pets were left to fend for themselves. Animal shelters were quickly filled with pets who had ran off in the storm due to downed fences and those who felt they had been abandoned.

This is just a glimpse of what small town life looked like in the days following the major storm. This is something everybody can learn from. With the weather so unpredictable, it is a must that every person thinks long term when prepping food, water and other basic supplies. It can happen anywhere. Never assume you are ready. Always add more food and other preps and be prepared to ride out an extended power outage.