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Jay

Winter Weather Prep Discussion

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So Bagsmom asked what other people do the prepare for winter weather and I figured since we are all hoping for something next week/week after I thought it would be fun to start a discussion about winter weather prep. Might also come in handy to see other folks thoughts on the matter especially if the temps being modeled come near verifying. (Also, 2/3rds of my family is sick right now so I'm trying to keep entertained while not getting the flu..... post may be a bit long winded as a result:classic_biggrin:)

I moved up from FL not too terribly long ago, so a lot of what I do is informed by the things we would do for hurricane prep while living in Tampa.

Things start for me sometime in the fall, usually after the first good cold snap, with replacing the windshield wiper blades on the vehicles, buying some Rain-X cold weather washer fluid, Rain-X spray window cleaner, and checking to make sure the ice scrappers we never seem to use are in my truck and my wife's Sequoia. Call me a snob, but I'm big on not scrimping on tires and wind shield wipers.... Bosch Icons for both vehicles, BFG KO2's for the truck and the next set of tires for my wife's suv will be Michelin LTX M/S2's.

While we are not in the Cohutta's or Blue Ridge we do  live about 300' above the town where we are located. Part of that is due to the fact that we live on a smallish ridge. The main road running past our house is deceptively steep and the road up our ridge is definitely steep. During Snowmagedden, I literally saw people smoking their tires and steaming the ice trying to make it to the crest of the main road after the snow had been packed into ice. In any event, usually around that same time that I replace the wipers blades I also check the back way up to the house. While unpaved, it's a less steep ascent and has a packed gravel base. Unfortunately, there are also a ton of volunteer pines along the sides that like to lean in when it rains or snows so I try to make note of those and trim them back in the fall early winter. I really don't like the idea of not being able to get down off the ridge with an *aging* neighbor, my 3 young children and a mother who has health issues. 

* While I say aging, my neighbor is in his mid-70's and puts people in their 30's to shame with the amount he stays active *

For most of the winter weather events we've experienced since we moved, it's pretty much a non-issue with making sure the vehicles are gassed up and doing our typical grocery shopping a couple days in advance of the bread and milk crowds. The couple of times we've been concerned about significant snow/ice and/or losing power I start doing a bit more serious prep in addition to the more casual things previously mentioned:

- Batteries for the flashlights, extra candles
- Fill up the spare gas cans
- Fill up the water carboys, stock extra bottled water, and find the camp shower
- Fill-up the propane tanks for the grill for cooking
- Chainsaw and the gas for it go in the bed of the truck (due to the pines along our road). I also keep a 20' tow chain in the toolbox of my truck year round.
- Put my truck on a battery maintainer at night when the weather hits
- Some warm clothing gets stocked in the cab of my truck

(I'm a biologist at an environmental education center and I need to check on our display animals daily during a weather event)

- Muck boots from work get stashed in the cab of the truck

(I have yet to be in a situation where I can't get off of the ridge, but most of the times that it has snowed I can't get back up after I leave and have to park the truck down by the main road and walk the quarter mile to get  back to our house. I hate having numb, wet toes)

- Sand bags in the the rear of the truck bed for weight distribution and traction

(They end up being used in the summer to replenish the kids' sand box, or at work for substrate for animal displays) 

- Check and stock prescriptions
- Check house propane tank

(We have a 1000gal tank that services the living room fireplace and the gas/electric furnace. I typically buy in the fall)

- Make sure mother in law knows she has an invitation to stay at our place and at very least ensure that she gets an order of firewood delivered and that she remembers that my boss lives just up the street.

(They live in a valley with three entrances/exits... all of which are impossible to navigate with anything more than a dusting of snow. Heck, one is a one lane wood trestle bridge over a non-trivially deep ravine.)

**Of upmost importance is locating the kids snow boots and sleds. The upside of living on a ridge that was originally terraced for farming is that that there are some awesome sledding hills.**

In truth, a lot of this is probably over kill, but the first time we saw snow up here was Snomagedden and what is normally an hour round trip commute to pick up the kids from school was a 4hr nerve wracking mess. Also, in some manner, all of the prepping is kinda fun and wholesome in the sense that it gives me a tangible feeling of  taking care of my family and the animals that I care for at work. It's also a nice build-up to having a couple peaceful days off of work. There is nothing quite like the color of the sky and the quietness of the woods both during and after a snow storm. I am very thankful I live in an area that both experiences on a semi-regular basis but does not have to deal with it more than a couple of days out of the year.

Photos are of our yard and the main road after we got 10" last year 😃

Yard.jpg

TRUCK.jpg

Edited by Jay
Trying to be a grammer nazi
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I would add-

check your anti freeze in your cars- if we hit some temps we have not seen in decades.

add outside faucet protectors, insulated covers.

move some firewood into the dry or cover with a tarp (wet wood is a pain).

get some extra lantern oil. 

get some extra propane - grill, buddy heater

once mainstream media starts sounding the alarm, supplies will get bought up.  prepare this weekend.  

Edited by sf0606
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4 hours ago, sf0606 said:

once mainstream media starts sounding the alarm, supplies will get bought up.  prepare this weekend.  

This was always a big issue in FL when there was a concern that a hurricane or tropical storm might come near our area. Along with that traffic tended to get uglier with more people scurrying about on various errands and the gas stations became particularly un-fun to navigate.

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Has anyone had experience with the Indoor Mr Buddy heaters?  Thinking about getting an emergency heating source prepped.  

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Went to Home Depot today to prepare and they have already moved supplies to the front of the store. WINTER IS COMING 😂

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5 hours ago, matt40 said:

Has anyone had experience with the Indoor Mr Buddy heaters?  Thinking about getting an emergency heating source prepped.  

No experience specifically with Mr. Buddy heaters. However, I do however have a ventless propane fireplace. Because there is no vent to remove the carbon monoxide produced we have multiple battery/mains powered carbon monoxide detectors in the house.

The Mr. Buddy Heaters are somewhat the same if you are using them inside. While apparently at least some  models come with an onboard carbon monoxide alarm, I would not place all of my trust in that feature. If you buy Mr Buddy Heater(s) I would also purchase a wall plug type carbon monoxide detector that also detects explosive gases and has a battery backup for each of the heaters that you are using. Something like this should fit the bill:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/First-Alert-Plug-In-Explosive-Gas-and-Carbon-Monoxide-Detector-Alarm-with-Digital-Display-1039760/307674839

The Mr. Buddy I just looked at also as a tip-over cutoff feature. While it would be reasonable to suspect all of them do, I would none the less consider getting some type of fire resistant base to put it on:

https://www.acehardware.com/departments/heating-and-cooling/fireplaces/hearth-rugs-and-boards/4487138?x429=true&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&gclid=CjwKCAiA1ZDiBRAXEiwAIWyNC9cAPfkagttxc_S76TdVgDAS3gfieKTNxBn511bWE5jiR84tV8NqzxoCzj8QAvD_BwE

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Steve, you really need to make it up there - I've been up to the summit a number of times and it's truly a phenomenal experience, moreso if you are interested in the weather.  August is a good month (although it snows up there sometimes in August) and I recommend hiking Boot Spur up and Tuckermans Ravine trail down.  Boot Spur is quiet and has phenomenal views, plus you get to visit Lake of the Clouds and really appreciate the rock pile's summit by standing on one of the shoulders before you head into the pea soup.  

If you only want to hike one way, the Cog Rail now allows one-way tickets in both directions (they used to just do one-way down), so you can hike either up or down, your preference.  Or just Cog it the whole way.  I've actually never done the auto road but be ye warned about that traverse up there in the summer - its like the road into Cades Cave in October at a silly upwards angle, and full of tourists.

I have two amazing books you'd like, too: one is a history of Mount Washington and a roster of everyone who has died on the mountain and the circumstances in which they perished (my parents always buy me stuff like this for my birthday - it's like they're trying to keep me out of the mountains), as well as a book written by the people who live in the weather station about their lives.  It includes a cookbook at the end, and their chili recipe (Guadalajara Night Chili) is ridiculous.  Exactly what you think it is from a bunch of people who experience daytime highs of -40.  If I can find them, I'll post pics and you are welcome to borrow them should we ever meet.

Some other winter prep notes ... first, the blizzard of 1978 was a game-changer for people from my part of the world.  It came so fast and so hard, people got stuck wherever they were for days.  Since then, we country types always did the following... sometime in November, snow tires go on.  Throw a bag of ice melt and chains for your tires in the trunk as weight.  These double as things you might need if you get stuck somewhere.  If you know you will be travelling in remote places, throw a sleeping bag (or at least a bivy sack), a poncho, a space blanket, some paracord, and a jackknife in your trunk.  I always kept a box of cliff bars, a bag of pistachios, and a water bottle or two in the car.  Note that high-fat foods and water force your body to work extra hard to digest, and thus raise your body temp.  Pistachios are high in fat.  All useful stuff if you have to shelter in a car.

Next, you will need a beanpot, a few pounds of yellow-eye beans, some proper bacon, dried mustard, molasses, and maple syrup.  Soak one pound of the dried yellow-eyes overnight, then put them in the beanpot.  Fil it with fresh water to about an inch above the beans.  Pour in half cups of molasses and maple syrup, then 1 tbsp of dried mustard.  Fold the pound of bacon and stuff it through the aperture, leaving it on top.  Around 2pm, roughly four hours before peak load starts on the grid and three before evening rush hour when people will start doing things like foraging for toilet paper and driving into power poles, heat your oven to 415.  Cover the top of the beanpot with foil, poke a few holes in, and put that thing in the oven.  Give it 3.5 - 4 hours, and you will have sustenance that will take you through a week or so of anything.  Add solar lights, candles, Mark Twain or Nathaniel Philbrick, some wool socks, and tie yourself to the mast: you're ready!

 

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