How to get ready for a a major storm , the REAL way, and I’m not talking about shopping for stupid things!

Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE a good storm. The thunder, the lightening, the rain pounding down…..it both excites and soothes my soul. One of the coolest things about living in florida, was living through some of the most serious Hurricanes in decades!  Going two weeks at a time with no power, it’s no joke, and you learn a lot. So, for those who haven’t been through a Hurricane, here are some tips that make sense and will actually help you weather the storm and a power outage.

  • Make sure you have plenty of propane for your grill, with a functioning grill you can make anything, even if you run out of water you can boil it (unless you don’t have any water without power)
  • Fill your gas tank on your car! In the winter you should ALWAYS have a full tank!
  • If you have a gas stove you can still cook. Your igniter will be out so you will need a long match or lighter, but you can still get your burners (but not your oven)  fired up! (How great is that?!?!?)
  • Make the fridge and freezer very cold, if I have extra room I bag up my ice and should I lose power, stash it in the fridge right away, and only open the fridge when needed once the power goes out.
  • If it is winter, turn your heat up, get your house nice and toasty. And close off any rooms that don’t need to be open.
  • Buy some pizza dough or have the items needed to make it by hand. I can grill a pizza and throw all kinds of canned items on it. (You can also throw your dutch oven on the grill and make soup that way. Breakfast potatoes can also be made in a skillet on the grill as well, scrambled eggs, etc. You can actually make almost anything on a grill)
  • Buy a loaf of bread for sandwiches. I’ll either make up a batch of chicken salad  just before the storm hits, or get cold cuts, neither needs to be cooked, and as long as the fridge stays cold a bit or you have a cooler you’re good.
  • Hard boil eggs for breakfasts, they are a great ready to eat food
  • Always remember to use up the cold already prepared foods first,  then the cold goods that need to be cooked and are in the fridge, then the freezer stuff, then the non perishables.
  • If you go to a bulk club like BJ’s or Costco you can get a case of individual serving size bottles of Tropicana that do not need to be refrigerated. It’s not fresh OJ, but it’s juice, and the Tropicana doesn’t taste weird like the minute made does.
  • Some percolators can go on the grill. If the stores are out of small bottles of water, look to see if they have the water cooler jugs of water, and then just pour or ladle it out and you’ve got coffee. If you don’t have a percolator you can boil water and use a french press (you can get one of those at TJ Maxx or Homegoods even)
  • Make sure you have a corded phone (old school push buttons) that way you still have a land line even if you lose power. Remember cell phones usually won’t work.
  • Have an old school walkman or CD player laying around? The kind with a RADIO in it? If so then your set to be able to stay tuned into what’s going on outside!
  • WINE, GIN, VODKA, they are all your friends, make sure you have a safe haven for them in your home. Those non perishable OJ bottles make great gin mixers. Oh yea, sippin on Gin and Juice 😉 (Stay classy Hudson Valley)
  • The most beautiful skies you will ever see are just before and just after a storm, take pictures.
  • I get my laundry done ahead of time. (when you’ve gone two weeks without power you realize these things)
  • Charge your chargeables!!!!! Camera, cell phone (eventually it will work)  toothbrush, RAZOR (uhhuh *****Remember, there’s a reason we had the baby boom after that big blackout*********), IPOD, Laptops (you can watch DVD’s or entertain the kiddies with a movie) and any other things you use that need to be charged.
  • If your water doesn’t work during a power outage,  FILL YOUR TUB!!!!!!!!! This will give you “flushing water” as well as water you can use with a washcloth to “wash the vitals”, and have a large bowl or bucket you can use to scoop it into your toilet tank.  Don’t flush every time ****if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down**** Yep,  this is getting personal!
  • Outdoor items, anything that looks like it could be a prop on “final destination”, if you wouldn’t want to see it flying at your face,  or coming through the  window, put it in your shed or garage
  • Candles (provided you aren’t an idiot), flashlights, hand crank or battery-powered radio or TV (the news will still air and this is helpful)
  • BOARD and CARD GAMES!!!!!!! Phase 10, Skip Bo, Monopoly, Scattagories, Clue, Trivial Pursuit; don’t go buy them, dig them out of that closet they are buried in now, you don’t want to have to bother with it later, trust me, you’ll be glad you did
  • Taping your windows is pointless, don’t bother

I think that’s all I can think of for now, think of it as a  forced vacation in your own home with the people you love, or a trip in the Delorean back to the olden days, enjoy it!

winter storm 2013

Forecast picture from Hudson Valley Weather on Facebook

***** 10/26/2012 I am updating this list!

  • Go through your freezer ahead of time and know what is in there, move things around so it is easy to reach items.  Once you loose power, you don’t want to be in there for long looking for things; just get in and get out. Put the items you think you might use first in the front of the freezer, and other items you think you might use lastly, toward the back or underneath other items
  • Pick up some handwipes. If loosing power means you loose water, hand washing becomes a luxury. Flushing water takes priority over hand washing water
  • If you have old terra cotta pots, they make lovely lanterns/candle holders.  Coffee mugs could work as well, and they have handles for easy carrying! Check out the pictures here of the beautiful terra cotta “lamps”

*** 10/28/2012 I have updated with a few more excellent tips from readers!

  • Stephanie added: You can also fill your washing machine with water! And don’t forget , no grills or camp stoves indoors!
  • Valerie added:  While making your storm preps, fill your dishpan with soapy water; you can use this to rinse dishes to then put in your dishwasher until the power comes back; once this “dish” water gets too yucky pour it into your toilet-flushing buckets to use in the toilet and ladle some of the bathtub water into your dishpan to continue rinsing your dishes. And she also added, rather than fill your freezer with ice cubes, just fill some gallon storage bags and plastic containers with water TODAY and by the time the power goes out they should be big solid blocks of ice that will stay frozen a lot longer than your ice cubes – you, in effect, have turned your freezer into a cooler.
  • Jean says: Don’t forget the Peanut Butter…if all else fails!
  • Brandi added: my big tip for dealing with a no water situation (which unfortunately has been an issue for us more times than I can count) ..is GLOVES!! – buy a box of vinyl or latex gloves..you can get 100 for like $10 – they come in VERY handy when you have to do things you would normally want to wash your hands after..like use the bathroom, change diapers, handle meats/eggs, etc…it’s not ideal (particularly from an environmental standpoint) but it’s temporary..and a great added protection from spreading god knows what all over your house when proper hand washing isn’t an option – AND helps protect your skin from the over-use of hand sanitizers!
  • Chef Tim says: Don’t forget you can always charge your cell phones in the car. Buy a power inverter for the car and plug in our crock pot and make something yummy!

Thanks everyone for the great tips, keep them coming!

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25 thoughts on “How to get ready for a a major storm , the REAL way, and I’m not talking about shopping for stupid things!

    • Thanks Sophie! I learned through experience, and the news only tells you the stuff that won’t really matter in terms of prep. the bath tub thing is important, especially if you don’t end up with running water!!!! Nothing worse then bottled water going down the toilet lol. Stay safe! (and it’s a good thing we don’t have the beef yet lol) 😉

  1. I did laundry yesterday and probably will do again on Saturday – so we’re ready too. And I’m filling my gas tanks in the car today—better safe than sorry.

    • Same here, laundry last night and this morning, and I’ll finish it tonight. I filled the gas tank last night as well, and I’ll top it off again tomorrow morning. Exactly, always better safe than sorry! 🙂

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  4. Great job! Don’t forget you can always charge your cell phones in the car. Buy a power inverter for the car and plug in our crock pot and make something yummy…

  5. great now I have Gin & Juice in my head! hehehe – anyway..these are great tips (although a corded phone won’t work if your land line comes through your modem – which mine does :/ ) …but ya know what..some time without a ringing phone is ok with me as long as we’re all home safe and sound! 🙂
    my big tip for dealing with a no water situation (which unfortunately has been an issue for us more times than I can count) ..is GLOVES!! – buy a box of vinyl or latex gloves..you can get 100 for like $10 – they come in VERY handy when you have to do things you would normally want to wash your hands after..like use the bathroom, change diapers, handle meats/eggs, etc…it’s not ideal (particularly from an environmental standpoint) but it’s temporary..and a great added protection from spreading god knows what all over your house when proper hand washing isn’t an option – AND helps protect your skin from the over-use of hand sanitizers!

    • Brandi, you are SO smart!! I hadn’t thought of that with the gloves! also, now snoop dog is stuck in my head lol. And I totally meant that about the corded to the wall, i forget people have modem phones lol. BUT if their modem has a battery backup, which a lot do, you actually will still have a phone if you use the corded! SO go get a battery backup!

  6. Great tips! I have 2 more, since we always lose water when the power goes out. While making your storm preps, fill your dishpan with soapy water; you can use this to rinse dishes to then put in your dishwasher until the power comes back; once this “dish” water gets too yucky pour it into your toilet-flushing buckets to use in the toilet and ladle some of the bathtub water into your dishpan to continue rinsing your dishes. Oh, and rather than fill your freezer with icecubes, just fill some gallon storage bags and plastic containers with water TODAY and by the time the power goes out they should be big solid blocks of ice that will stay frozen a lot longer than your ice cubes – you, in effect, have turned your freezer into a cooler.

  7. Great ideas. I liked the one about freezing water ahead. The washing machine is also good to fill with water. I’m sure this is obvious to most people, but bears repeating.. no gas grills or campstoves indoors!

  8. i live in Houston so i am use to hurricane preparations .. one thing we do is use two litter soda bottles we fill them with water and freeze (as many as u can ) this keeps the food cold longer and as it melts gives you fresh cold water to drink. the less empty space in your freezer the longer your food stays cold. One last thing i can not stress enough the need for keeping your generator outside and away from the doors and windows where fumes can fill your house, it needs to be outside and in a well ventilated area where the fumes CAN NOT get inside.

  9. Use your solar powered garden lamps in the house during outages. Just put them into bottles and they will function as soft interior lighting. Put them outside during the day to solar re-charge.

  10. Just thought of something else for those of us who lose water when the power goes out. We just went to Walgreens and bought a container of Baby Wipes…we may not be able to shower but at least we can keep certain areas (read: underarms and crotches) as clean as possible inbetween going to friends’ houses for showers!

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