Cafe Primrose

Not Boston Strong…. Blizzard Strong.

Posted on January 3, 2014

Here in Boston, we have quite an interesting and long history with battling the evil weather gods, Nor and Easter. Every year, they pummel us with snow and freezing and below freezing temperatures with some regularity we get down to the negative numbered temperatures. We get quite battered here every year…. Parts of this region are falling pray to the ocean tonight. We are also coastal. Each year the ocean takes pieces of us away, carried on the frozen waves to litter the ocean floor like some sort of lost Atlantis. Many recall last year when in one night we got 22 inches of snow. Others recall the infamous Blizzard of 78, which was so horrible that even those of us born in 1980 remember how the tanks rolled into Boston to save us. It seems courtesy of global warming these massive storms hitting all over the country are just getting worse and worse. They are not really storms, they are major climatic events, and some day people will look back on this time period and they will ask about us why we saw the earth getting ripped apart and we did nothing. Truth is, I am not in a position to make major changes to the way all of humanity lives so I will do what I can to pollute less and I will encourage others to do the same. I will also do the only other thing that I can, teach you what I have learned surviving Boston storms for 33 years and try to help you be prepared for a short term crisis.

I do a few things to get through the storms, the key though is preparation. One of the most important things I do is I keep what I call,  “the storm trunk.” Mine is incomplete due to how tight money has been but idealistically this is what you would keep in your storm trunk.

  • A first aid kit complete with a pain killer, a stomach related pill, alcohol for cleaning wounds and various kinds of bandages, even scissor some thread and an emergency needle.
  • Water, a couple large containers of clean fresh water are critical to keep in your storm chest. Last year in New York, they lost the use of many important water  oriented home features. And many were not comfortable drinking from the tap. So water is always good to keep on hand.
  • Candles, flash lights, extra batteries, and Kerosene lamps are all great in case of loss of power.
  • Non perishable food! Critically important.
  • Pet food and bowls.
  • Plastic cups and plates
  • Wool blanket in case the heat goes out, as my heat is controlled through the electric.
  • Lighter
  • An emergency radio is also not a half bad idea.
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer
  • I also keep an emergency inhaler because I have asthma, so any critical prescription medications you take you should keep a couple days worth in your emergency trunk.
  • A cell phone if you have one, is also not a bad idea especially if you have no emergency radio.
  • It is also nice to give yourself and others something to do while the worst is happening. It keeps moral high. So keep perhaps some brain teasers, or a book, or board game as well.
  • $200 cash in case of emergency need.

The next step, in storm preparation, go to the grocery store, make sure your home is stocked up with all kinds of goodies. Comfort foods are very helpful during major storm events. Personally, I like to bake during large storms. It makes the whole house which is all closed up as tight as can be, smell fabulous, and it is comforting as it adds an additional layer of warmth from running the oven, and then you have even more nice comfort food that also makes things seem a bit brighter.

Find your snow shovels. Make sure they are in the house with you. Not in a basement or a shed, but where you don’t have to walk through snow and ice to get to them. Also keep a broom with them. Often it helps to sweep the snow in cases of light snow. Keep them where you have easy access. Many people I know go out half way through and do their shoveling so that afterwards, their load is a bit lighter. Not an entirely bad strategy.

Turn the heat up a couple extra degrees, because if you lose heat you want as much heat as possible in the house so that it lasts as long as possible. Especially if you live in an old house like mine. It doesn’t take long even with new windows for the draft to carry away the heat.

In addition to your extra blanket in your Storm Chest, you should also bring a few more out of the closet and leave them on the couch where they are easily accessible to family and friends.

If you are luckier than I am and you have a wood stove, I suggest turning it up to full blast.

Make a list of any household items you think you may need in the next 3 days er on the side of caution and over abundance and run your errands to purchase those items, such as toilet paper, paper towels, tooth paste…. etc….

Make sure your family’s cleanest and warmest clothing is clean and ready for use

Check your boiler in the basement, make sure you have sufficient heating oil, and that the water level in the glass is a good height. Order any new oil you need a couple days before the storm.

Make sure you take out the trash before the storm starts. Otherwise your house will just wind up filling up with stinky garbage.

BEFORE you start turning up all the heat to prepare turn it all down. Open some windows and air out your house for a half hour. Then close it all up tight and follow above directions to maximize the heating of your home.

Make sure to keep checking on the school situation with kids, sometimes they call to close early in which case you have to be ready to go get them ahead of schedule. Make sure you do it if you need to BEFORE the roads get bad.
Everything you do to prepare outside the home must be done before the snow starts to fall.

Prepare for dangerous heavy wind, by taping up windows.

Make sure that in addition to your candles and lamps and flash lights in the emergency chest there are some already out and ready to be lit.

Get to work on preparing hot drinks like Glogi, or hot cider or even tea or hot chocolate.

Get ready to wait out the nasty, it could be a few days, prepare for some cabin fever.

Make sure your car is safe, not anywhere giant blocks of ice or tree branches can fall on it

Make sure your home is safe too and that any trees that over hang have been trimmed back to where they can do no damage.

Make sure your family stays in where it is warm and does not go out and if they do, use the buddy system. No one should be out in alone in a storm.

Break out the board games or comforting movies, (comedy is a good choice when the wind is screaming and the snow is trying to bury you alive.)

If you are like me and you have tenants, check on them, make sure they are good for the incoming weather disaster.

If you are concerned about flooding, sandbags are your friend and the more the merrier.

Prepare a plan for evacuation, and have a point somewhere not far away where the whole family can meet up if they get separated somehow.

If you are in snow land,  like me, a pair of skis is not a bad thing to have handy if you are unlike me and you actually know how to use them. That way if there is a serious emergency and someone needs to go get help, the process is quicker.

In regions with tornadoes go to the basement and get as far from windows as possible! Or if a basement is not an option the bathtub will do.

During earth quakes, stand in a doorway.

If your home is having any electrical issues, make sure they are dealt with by a professional before the bad weather hits, the last thing you need in sub arctic conditions in the middle of a blizzard with 30 plus MPH, is to have your home catch on fire.

Well that is all I can think of everyone….. If I think of anything else, I will add it to this list.





















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