Saturday, April 21, 2012

Preparing for the Buffalo April Storm

The offices of Buffalo meteorologists are once again abuzz with their favorite word- SNOW- but this time it is forecast for late April. Not that we hardy folk are strangers to unseasonal weather shifts, it is part of life here on the Niagara Frontier. 

Of course, what really grabs out attention is when weather forecasters throw around the term, "It could be another October Surprise."

As I look out my living room window at the budding trees in my yard, I realize that this statement is a means of urging precaution as much as it is a ploy to keep us tuned in to the TV just a little longer.  For what caused the destruction of the October Storm was wet snow clinging to our tree leaves; the limbs broke bringing down power cables across Western New York.  Some people were without power for two-weeks.

The October Surprise storm taught us so much about ourselves, glued to the radio for a week, working together, and utilizing skills most of us forgot.  I lived in Lockport at the time and was disappointed that we were only without power for three days.  I am a backpacker and a bit of a survivalist - moments like those are what I live for. 

Everyone should have a survival kit

I had lanterns, sleeping bags, stoves, fuel, and food.  However, most people found themselves greatly unprepared. 
So, what can you do to prepare yourself and your family?
  • Fill your vehicles up with gas
  • Fill up containers, and perhaps the bathtub, with water.  Plan on one gallon per person per day.  
  • Inventory your food supplies, plan on unrefrigerated easy to prepare food. 
  • If you have a generator, make sure it is in working condition and that you have enough fuel for it.  
  • Review how to cook and boil water without succumbing to Carbon Monoxide poisoning. 
  • Keep your cell phone charged.
  • Make sure you have a portable radio with batteries.  Information is key in a disaster.  
  • Have a few flashlights and battery powered lanterns.  Look for lights with LED bulbs- they are much more battery efficient.  
  • Check your battery supply.  Trying to find batteries was impossible during the October catastrophe.  

If you want to know what to include in a survival kit, check out my article Prepare Your Family for Disaster: Survival Kits and Bug Out Bags

Most importantly in any disaster, is to look our for other people in your community that might need help.  Granted, your family comes first, but make sure you check in on elderly neighbors.

I love the snow, but I hate to see our community suffer.  I hope that the weather prognosticators are wrong on this April storm.  

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