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Ask The Readers: Preparing For A Storm

This week Oklahoma, and most of the US,  was hit by a major snow storm.

Monday afternoon, just a few hours before the storm came, my daughter and I headed to Wamart, along with just about everyone else in Oklahoma.

Now, I did not have to go to the store. I had plenty of food at home, but I live out in the country, and I knew if the storm was as bad as they said, I would be unable to go anywhere for awhile.

So, I headed to Walmart to pick up a few things that I thought would be nice to have just in case we were stranded at home for awhile.

As my daughter and I were going about our quick shopping trip, she looked at me and said, “Mom why are so many people buying pop? That is really not a necessity during a storm.”

Smart girl (and yes that made her dentist dad proud).

She made a very good observation, and it turned into a good conversation about what necessities versus wants are. We discussed things that really are a need during a storm or catastrophic event. It turned into a good teaching moment.

By the end of our conversation she said it would be fun to survey people to find what they would buy to prepare for a major storm or catastrophic event. I thought a survey sounded like a great idea. We are home schoolers after all, so we like to turn everything we can into a learning experience.

I decided to help her out with her survey and ask you, my readers, for help. I thought it would make a great question for my Ask The Readers feature this week.

So, my daughter and I would love to hear what things you would buy if you were preparing for a major storm, where you may be stranded at home for an extended time and could lose electricity?

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. We are pretty well prepared for anything! Before a store comes, I make sure we have all the perishables that we will need before I can go to the store again. This usually includes milk and bread unless I have just bought those things. I also try to fill up the gas tank of my car in case we would need to travel somewhere when things are closed down.

  2. Why I don’t tell you what we did get.
    Bottled Water – in case the pump didnt work
    Extra Bread
    Canned Soup – can be heated on gas stove or camp stove if needed
    Extra Batteries for flashlights
    A few extra candles just in case
    Granola bars
    Shelf stable Milk
    Fresh Fruit and Veggies

  3. Like the others I would opt for the staples of bread and milk. Most other staples I have enough in the house to get by. Batteries for flashlights, and dog food are probably all I would need. Filling of the gas tank is one that I had not thought of but it is a good idea as well as just a “bit” of chocolate to lift spirits in the crisis. Maybe some charcol for the barbecue in case I need something to cook on.

  4. I guess I don’t worry that much about it. I live in an area
    where I can walk to a grocery store or gas station, and near enough to a hospital (6 blocks) that our streets get plowed right away. We did get 20″ of snow this past week, but it didn’t really affect us that much. We were able to get out and about the next day. 🙂

  5. before the storm i stopped for gas on the way home and got bread, milk and baby water (we dont usually use for his formula but i thought just in case something happened with the water in our apartment). i had enough canned veggies and other canned goodies (which we normally eat without cooking) on hand that if we lost power and had to we could eat that PLUS whatever fruits and veggies were in the fridge.

  6. We live in a rural area so I try to have bread, milk, water, cans of soup, vegs, & fruit as well as crackers and granola bars for groceries. I also stock up on batteries, candles and matches. We also try to get to the library before a storm so we can have fresh reading material if we lose power for a few days.
    Great idea for homeschooling project!

  7. I stopped at the store on Monday, just because it is something I usually do that day. Thought I would get some bread, potatoes, fruit, eggs (they were on sale this week) and to pick up a prescription (just in case I couldn’t get out); I had milk already. There was no bread, hardly any vegetables, no potatoes, but they had plenty of eggs! Thankfully I had plenty of other things at home that could be cooked on my gas stove top if our electricity was out. I made my own bread and we have been fine all week.

  8. We stock up on a lot of the same things mentioned above. We have a well, so if our electricity is out so is our well. I like to stock up on paper products (plates paper towels etc.) so we won’t have too many dishes etc. to wash after the storm. We also fill 3-4 sinks up with water for hand washing & to soak any dishes.

  9. for this storm I wasn’t too worried. I live in a great community on something like a college campus and I knew that if any of us ran out of stuff the others would help. we also have our own food pantry on campus and aren’t too far from the store. one thing we do usually do before a storm is fill our tub up with water to use to flush the toilet and if we had to drink (our cat hates this as she usually sits in the tub and can’t when we fill it.) while I grew up in Michigan the first thing would see grocery stores empty out of was beer.

    • We have a well, so if the power is out, so is the water. I used to fill the bathtub, but that tied up the tub. What I do now if fill up a tall kitchen trash can with water (mainly for toilet flushing) and leave it in the back of the shower. It still leaves you room to shower, but if the power goes out, it’s still there for you. if you start with a new trash can, you could probably boil the water for dishwashing too.
      Since we are in snowy New England, we make sure to have plenty of wood for the stove, which is our primary heat source. We have a propane camp stove and extra propane, a gas grill outside, and plenty of candles. We make sure to have drinking water, milk, bread and peanut butter. Already have lots of canned goods in the pantry! Of course, some good board games are a must, and charge up the cell phones… So far so good this winter, we’ve had 80 inches of snow but no power losses yet!

  10. Great suggestions! I would grab an extra propane tank for the grill.

  11. I would buy propane for the camp stove, if one of the tanks was low, bottled water in case our barrels weren’t enough, fresh fruits and veggies (but not too many that need refrigeration), canned foods, ice to put into the freezer, batteries for the flashlights, milk, and bread.

    The bread is an interesting one – because I make the majority of our bread from scratch. I normally would not buy it, but in a time when we might not be able to use the oven, I would probably buy a loaf or two. Or my kids would go without. But, bread certainly does make fast and easy no-cook meals.

    I also would make sure we had enough things like diapers. Normally I have an extra box in reserve, but I would check that just in case, because a week or even a few days without diapers would make for a stinky problem!

  12. Peanut butter and tuna would definitely be on my list…and milk. We have a bunch of hurricane lamps, so lamp oil would also be on my list. The lamps also provide a bit of heat, but candles would also be good to have on hand too. I bake my own bread, so I would make a number of loaves and throw in the freezer.

    Filling the gas tanks is a great idea. I usually try to not let the vehicles get below half tank, but adding that to the “To Do” list would be a good thing.

  13. Milk, eggs, bread and fruit are the things I would buy to add to the food we already have at home.

  14. We bought bread, milk, deli ham and some fruits & veggies (apples, broccoli, bananas, cole slaw mix, lettuce). We made sure we had plenty of the following on hand: peanut butter, flour, butter, sugar, eggs, rice. We have a deep freeze of meals, our portion of a cow, chicken (whenever its on sale), and lots of homemade items – jam, stock, marinara, etc.

    I wanted to make sure if we had electricity we could bake a treat or two as well as hot breakfasts. And if we had no power, I was sure we had stuff to make sandwiches, etc. I wasn’t worried about things needing to be kept cold because it is so cold outside, you can mimic a refrigerator in various ways. And we have a gas stovetop, so I made sure we had plenty we could warm up that way if needed.

    Fun project.

  15. We bought bread, milk, deli ham and some fruits & veggies (apples, broccoli, bananas, cole slaw mix, lettuce). We made sure we had plenty of the following on hand: peanut butter, flour, butter, sugar, eggs, rice. We have a deep freeze of meals, our portion of a cow, chicken (whenever its on sale), and lots of homemade items – jam, stock, marinara, etc.

    I wanted to make sure if we had electricity we could bake a treat or two as well as hot breakfasts. And if we had no power, I was sure we had stuff to make sandwiches, etc. I wasn’t worried about things needing to be kept cold because it is so cold outside, you can mimic a refrigerator in various ways. And we have a gas stovetop, so I made sure we had plenty we could warm up that way if needed.

    Of course I also knew we wouldn’t need any hygene products within a week or so. And I knew we were fine on kleenex, matches, candles, batteries, etc.

    Fun project.

  16. An extra propane tank for our outdoor grill in case we needed it for cooking (our stove/oven is electric); ice to keep things cold in freezers; some treats to make life more fun; library books; and pet supplies we might be low on. We keep our pantries well-stocked so we’d have plenty of food to eat.

  17. Your daughter might enjoy this,
    I am actually a reader from Australia. The state I live in (Queensland) was hit by Cyclone Yasi this week. While I was fine where I live, most people up north were buying water, batteries for torches (flashlights) and radios, refilling gas tanks for bbqs, and tape and plywood to tape up or cover windows. They were also buying whatever food was left on the shelf – lots of panic buying here too.
    While you are freezing over there, we are getting the hot, hot, humid weather as an after affect of the cyclone. 🙂

    • @Kelly, It sounds like people there buy very similar things to what we would here. She will enjoy have someone from Australia answer, so thank you! And I am glad that you are fine, I heard about that storm on the news and it looked like a really bad one.

  18. We are usually pretty stocked up. We got hit by the same storm here in West Texas. One thing I didn’t have enough of was toilet paper. UGH. We ended up having to make a run on Tuesday afternoon. Now I am making an effort to make sure we always have one HUGE pkg from Sam’s in our garage pantry area. 🙂 An extra propane tank is a great idea. I try to have one extra full one during the summer, but it’s not usually on my mind in the winter.

  19. Back when I lived in Houston area, I made preparations well before hurricane season hit every year.

    I would always buy gallons of water and store them where we wouldn’t use them. I would also make sure I had batteries for the flashlights and plenty of candles (loved candles during a blackout). I would make sure that there was plenty of propane for our camp stove and stock up on non perishables. And, it always helped to have paper plates, plastic silverware and cups handy because running water and trash services may not be available to us. We had plywood already cut and ready to install right away for each window and they were stored in the shed.

    Now, we live in San Antonio, we no longer need to prepare for hurricane season. However, I do love my candles and was very thankful to have them during the rolling power outages during the heavy freezes the last couple days. We had plenty of clothes and blankets to keep us warm. I’m thankful that I’m a blanket hog. LOL. 🙂 The mentality of stocking up on non-perishables have stuck with me. I don’t think I’ll ever get away from that no matter where we live.

    We don’t really need to prepare for a winter storm as it rarely snows here. It snowed two nights ago — first time since 1985 and it was rather fun. It was dangerous of course because there was a layer of ice beneath the snow. Thankfully, it didn’t stick around long.

    We do know now that we would want a generator if we should get a house in the “country” for those times when we’re unable to get out due to storms and are suffering from power outages. {We are thinking about moving to the country; so, this would be an important aspect.}

    Thank you for letting me prattle on and on. LOL. 🙂 I hope something in my ramblings was of use. 🙂

  20. Martha Artyomenko says

    We get snow storms all the time here, but rarely does the city shut down…..
    But we get some bad storms in the summer sometimes….
    If I knew a bad storm was coming and might knock out out electricity, I have most of the stuff on hand, like lamp oil, matches, non-perishable food. I would probably buy some bottled water, band-aids, batteries….. propane tank for our propane heater. We have a gas stove so we would hopefully have gas still, we have city water which usually still runs, but in the country when the electricity would go out, we would all run and fill up every container and sink until the water ran out. I was so shocked living in town that we still had water! I lived without Electricity, running water etc for 4.5 years so have lamps, large inverter etc on hand too.
    I would probably get some stuff like nuts, granola bars and bake some cookies and quick breads so I would have some high energy foods that were easy to grab, stock up on vegetables too.

  21. I have to stay prepped for hurricane season. I make sure we have lots and lots of bottled water on hand. Some of it I just keep frozen in my deep freeze. I would use that for washing faces and hands if necessary. Then I store commercially bottled water for us to drink.
    I also stock up on batteries and propane for our camp stove – just like a lot of other people said.
    Other than that, it’s a pantry full of non-perishables: tuna, chicken, spaghettios, peanut butter, fruit, and veggies. I don’t usually buy extra bread or milk when a storm is headed our way but I do make sure to have powdered milk and lots of tortillas (I think they stay fresh longer).

  22. Funny, I asked a similar question on my blog’s FB page just yesterday as we were stuck at home due to the ice storm in the Houston area. The day before I heard the grocery stores were packed. I made it early enough that day before to pick up some stuff I was running low on anyway like milk, bread and some fruit. In the summer, when hurricanes are more of a concern, our preparation is quite different. Hurricanes Rita and Ike taught us to always fill our gas tanks and make sure the propane tanks are filled in case the electricity goes out. And to fill the tubs with water for flushing toilets. During the winter, refrigeration is not as much an issue as it’s less likely things will spoil when we can just put them outside to make our own fridge or freezer! Winter storms don’t last for so long here so most likely we wouldn’t be without supplies for long as the ice and snow melts soon enough that things are back to normal quickly.

  23. Something we learned a few years ago when our area had a major power outage is that atm and credit card machines also don’t function without electricity. Many grocery stores and fast food places were only accepting cash. So, definitely good to have some cash set aside for emergencies.

  24. What a fun project! I posted how we get ready for a storm:

    As for buying things, I make sure we have enough toilet paper and diapers/wipes (though I don’t worry as much since I semi-cloth diaper.)

    Fresh fruit, milk if we’re low. Maybe some little extras to combat cabin fever/smooth out boring days (ingredients to make hot cocoa, little treats we don’t usually have, like goldfish crackers). I try to make sure we have a deck of cards (with ALL the cards) and check if maybe we need a new box of crayons. Recently for this last storm we purchased LED tap lights to put in the bathrooms, in case of power outage.

    Most other stuff we have- we have some bottled water stored already, and we just filled the bathtubs (we have a great, non-electric water purifier for drinking water). I try to keep at least a month’s worth of dry goods in the house (beans, rice, oil, etc.) We have matches on hand, and candles, and a well stocked first aid kit. Because we try to be prepared in general, we don’t really need anything extra for a storm.

  25. The only thing I *had* to get extra of was cat food!

    This is what we keep for emergencies like this (and we got hammered with the ice part of the same storm!):

    –Powdered milk (We can use it for cooking, can make what we need, and doesn’t spoil until it’s mixed.)

    –Extra toilet paper, batteries, fuel for the grill, matches, kerosene, oil for lamps, candles, waterproof matches.

    –We used to buy cat litter in 5 gallonish buckets. We fill those with water as it comes out of the rinse of the washer to use for flushing toilets.

    –I have 12 half-gallon canning jars that we fill with water for drinking and cooking.

    –I cook some meals ahead. I made a deer roast with brown rice, a beef roast with carrots and potatoes, chicken noodle soup, freezer biscuits, and some muffins. (I have many meals in the freezer already.) These are things we can warm up on the grill or in the cast iron dutch oven over a fire or in the fire pit if we loose power. If our power goes out and we’re afraid of food spoilage, we can put it in the garage!

    –We also took showers before the storm hit. That way we’d at least be clean if we didn’t have power or hot water! 🙂

    –And we did up the last load of laundry.

    When it hit, we did loose power. I was thankful to have this stuff done so I could concentrate on making it an adventure for our daughters (who are 5 and 7).

    We need to invest in a new kerosene heater for next year. Then we’ll be set!


  26. My guess would be the pop is for the superbowl not the storm. I already have bottled water, flashlight and batteries, and some canned food staples in the basement if we need them, but I don’t stock up before storms. I guess after having a 5 day power outage last year we know we can make it by.

  27. Thanks to some of the blogs i follow i’ve created a nice stockpile. I also have beef, green beans, corn, blueberries and peaches in my freezer and I have canned applesauce. If i was going to the store i would pick up milk and eggs if needed. I would also stock up on fresh fruit and veggies. We have an electric stove so I would try and get things we can eat w/out cooking. Perhaps granola bars as well. I would also probably get a case of bottled water even though we would fill containers w/tap water, just to be prepared.

  28. We were staying with my live alone mom when the storm came in. I went to the store and bought batteries, bananas, milk, bread, peanut butter, jelly and cereal. Oh and tea, my mom loves tea. Oh and Smore’s snack mix- it was on the clearance aisle and a complete impluse buy. My mom doesn’t keep much in the way of milk or bread in the house and she has an electric stove so there would be no cooking. If we had been here at home, I would need to buy extra milk and bananas. We have a gas stove so we could keep cooking without a problem.

  29. We live in Hurricane Alley. There’s a saying around here: “The first 72 are on you.” That’s usually how long it takes for relief agencies to swing into action, so it’s wise to have at least 3 days of supplies. BOTTLED WATER is #1. I can’t tell you how it feels to have your family working hard to clear limbs/streets/trees and think you may not have enough water (no other drink matters at that point). We have lost water before during a hurricane, and that is very scary, so we try to stockpile a LOT – enough for drinking, but also some for bathing, flushing, and even minimal clothes washing if necessary.

    Next I’d say charcoal/gas/whatever you need to create heat for cooking. Hurricanes usually happen when it’s hot, so everyone would love something cold, but when the power’s off, the LAST thing you want to do is open the fridge/freezer!

    Plastic utensils and plates, LOTS of paper towels & napkins. We even have some MRE’s (meals ready to eat) that were issued by the National Guard during Hurricane Ivan (we had no power for 11 days).

    A radio, cards, and if you can afford it, a generator is a wonderful thing!

  30. I live in NW AR and we were got hit with the bad storm last week and another one is on the way for this next week…blah! But in fear of maybe losing electricity last week, I made sure I had all my candles out, batteries in flashlights, blanksets out (So Im not searching for everything in the dark!) I did all the laundry beforehand, went to Walmart, which was a nightmare, and bought water, crackers, trailmix, canned soup and one of those little propane stoves that you take camping that dont require electricity, while we didnt have to use, thank goodness, its nice to know we have it if it does ever happen and still have hot food and hot chocolate!

  31. We’re in south TX and were supposed to get 1-3 inches of snow, which ended up being half an inch.
    I have a really well-stocked pantry, but with 2 days of rolling blackouts, I wanted to make sure I had lots of quick things so I grabbed extra bread and milk, but I also picked up hot dogs and s’mores stuff for the kids to cook in the fireplace. It’s a real treat around here but would be familiar to my 6 year old who gets really worked up over major changes/events.

  32. I live in a city in Arkansas. So even if it snowed a lot they clear the roads. I got Milk and Bread and cat food (they were on my list.) I work for Walmart and just wanted to say I was working when the snow began to fall. Most people buy like they will be snowed in for several months! I was thinking don’t you have most of this on hand? And TV’s it is tax return time and we must have sold every tv in the electronics dept. So much for necessities.

  33. Bread (we buy a special kind), La Croix, peanut butter, fruit, TP, make sure we have batteries and any prescriptions filled, maybe some canned pasta (yuk). This time before the snow I bought a nice bottle of wine, not needed, but nice for in front of the fireplace.

  34. We usually don’t lose power so I didn’t worry about things spoiling in our fridge…however it was cold enough that I could have just put stuff outside 🙂 We made sure we had milk, skim for me, 1% for my 5yo & husband and whole milk for my 13mo. I also made sure we had cereal, grd turkey, chicken, cheese, bread and for my homeschooling sanity I had to have some diet soda…sorry but I don’t drink coffee 🙂 We never ran out of anything, but I do need to stock up again for this next round of snow that will be coming in the middle of the week! UGH

  35. That’s so funny that your daughter noticed all the pop. I work in a Walmart Vision Center and worked on Tuesday until 8:00 and our storm was predicted to start that night and go all day Wednesday. At one point late in the afternoon I said to my coworker “I don’t think there’s any way there can still be pop on the shelves out there because every single cart I saw go by out the door had at least a couple of 2 liters in it”. Granted, they had the essential bread and milk and cereal also, but I had to laugh about all the pop. And when I got off work that night, I knew I had everything I needed at home for several days, so what did I buy to get me through? A 2 liter of Pepsi and a bag of Doritos. Hey, I can live on canned soup and other things for several days, but there’s nothing wrong with having a treat while you’re snowed in…lol…

  36. toilet paper

  37. What a smart girl you have on your hands! 🙂

    We are in Kansas City so we got snowed in for about a day. We weren’t in need of much, but I went out and picked up a few things so we would be fully stocked. Here is what I would buy if we didn’t have it: milk, bananas, apples, oranges, fruits and veggie to make baby food for my son, cereal, peanut butter, pasta sauce, bread, cheese, coffee, tea and batteries.

    To prepare for the snow we made sure all of our blankets and sweatshirts were clean. I also washed all of our diapers (cloth, obviously). Then made sure we had ice melt.

    Really we didn’t have much that we HAD to do b/c we live 1 block from the grocery store and 1 mile from Target. We are four houses off a “main” road and have a 4-wheel drive vehicle too. It was nice to not have to worry about getting out.

  38. HighlandMummy says

    As many of the others have commented, we also live out in the country and as a result, part of my monthly shop is to make sure our supply cupboard is well, supplied. If I know we are going to have a storm/ snow these are the things I would head to town for:
    -firewood if stocks were low
    -water, we always loose our supply in a storm
    -tinned goods that I could make over the fire if needed, such as beans soup etc
    fruit, bread milk cheese, ham.. all things we can make sandwiches/ snack on when there is little power.
    I also keep a freezer full of frozen soup that could be defroested over the fire if needs be. All in all, I think we are generally quite prepared at all times as living out in the country means that a) we often loose power/water and have prepared for that and b) the cost of gas being what it is, I stock the house well each month to save trips back into town.

  39. I also live in Oklahoma and went to the grocery store and was interested in this topic so glad that you posted it. The one thing I did notice was that there was no frozen pizza left at all. I guess this is an easy fix for most people.

  40. I was 19 when we were faced with the great ice storm of 1998 in upstate NY. I was home on christmas vacation and learned many lessons from that storm. Power outage for 18 days is a life changing experience. I have a set of shelves in our basement that are dedicated to storm/disaster supplies. We have power inverters that can provide lights and power. Radio, battery operated tiny tv, flashlights, matches, candles, bottled water, paper products, first aid kit, camping dishes, medications etc.

    We always have 15 gals of gas in the garage and a back up tank of propane for the gas grill. Not having those things was a major challenge during the ice storm. We cooked in our wood furnace- not easy and not fun.

    When the snow was on its way last week I picked up milk and bread. I did get other things but nothing storm specific. I also noticed that pizzas were flying out of the deep freeze and the meat dept was low on stock. Soda and potato chips were thinning out too- which seems so strange to me.

  41. Some things I make sure we have before a storm:

    Milk, eggs, lots of flour, canned fruit, frozen veggies, plenty of meat, noodles, fun snack foods, cereal, and peanut butter & jelly.

    I make sure to make bread too, just in case we lose power.

  42. I normally have enough of everything to last us through a storm, but if I was heading to the store, I would stock up on water, and fresh veggies so we have plenty on hand. I try and keep batteries and candles anyway in my emergency box, along with shelf stable milk and canned goods.

  43. Full gas tanks in the cars, charged up cell phones, laundry and dishes done. For food, we set aside some water for washing and flushing. Make a couple extra loaves of bread. Stock peanut butter, tuna, deli ham, apples, bananas, granola bars, and milk. We didn’t lose power, but it was several days before I was ready to get out for more groceries. Several posters mentioned paper plates… that is a great idea!

  44. I keep a good supply of staples so just some fresh fruit and eggs is all we have to buy. If the electricity goes out, which it has, we are in a pickle! Thank goodness we were only without power for 8 hours and it wasn’t long enough to freeze the pipes. We do need to look into a way to have heat without electricity!

    • Tina McElhattan says

      @sondra, After the 2006 ice storm and our power was out for 6 days, we installed one of those ventless propane (they make natural gas too) heaters in our basement. It’s an unfinished basement and we put the heater near where the bathroom and kitchen water pipes are. Plus we have a bed down there we can move down with the pets and keep warm. They only cost around $200 (I got mine from Craig’s list, barely used) and my brother installed it. But it’s probably best to have a professional do it. Definintly something to check into and invest in. Since we are on well water the water pump doesn’t work when the electric is out so we can’t let the water drip to keep the pipes from freezing. We haven’t tested the heater yet in a power outage but I’m relieved we have it. We also have a carbon monoxide detector close by also just in case and we can crack open the window if need be. For the basement steps we have a fluorescent battery operated light we can turn on along the wall. This way we can move down there safely without having to use a flashlight. We have a battery operated camping lantern for the bathroom also. Someday we hope to have a whole house generator. We have a portable one, but if we are snowed in for a while we’ll run out gas (25 gallons in the garage). I wish we have a fireplace, but we don’t. But we do have a camping propane stove, propane grill and a wood grill stocked with wood outside if we want warmth when we are outside. Read your stove manuals. Our propane kitchen stove, the burners will work but the oven won’t, it’s electric start. On our breaker box we have everyone outlet, switch and appliance marked so we know what runs what. A well stocked first aid kit but into a Rubbermaid container with handle in case you need to evaluate. We need to get a crank weather alert radio. Food wise, pretty much what everyone has suggested already.

  45. eggs, milk, bread, flour and sugar.

  46. I don’t go the day the weather starts to go crazy, I go earlier in the week, so I’m not fighting everybody. Thankfully I’m able to do this being married to a weather guy who tells me all about it.
    So, if he tells me big weather stuff could happen, I go 2 days in advance, at least, fill up the family car with gas, grab milk, bread, cereal and fresh fruit and vegetables, if needed. Before I go to the grocery store I make sure we enough food (meats and side dishes) to last us a week. That way in case the storm is bigger than anticipated, we’re good on food for a few days.
    Thankfully we live close to family if we need anything and close to grocery stores so it’s not too much trouble to get out, if needed.

  47. My husband is retired military and I served 13 years before taking care of our squad of 4 (and later 8!) kids at home.

    To be honest, we try to always be prepared for a storm. In the military, we are trained in the ability to bug out at a moments notice and to be prepared at all times.

    It is an ingrained habit for us to not allow our gas tanks to go below half full. We keep emergency supplies stocked and current (some things expire!) always.

    Like Dave Ramsey suggests, we keep an emergency stash of cash in our savings account. We always shop for two weeks of groceries and supplies every payday and coupon to stock those things that have long shelf lives. This last storm was to hit 2 days before payday. We were able to use some of our savings to go grocery shopping early so that we could “ride the storm”. On payday, we just paid ourselves back by replacing the money.

    So, for us trying to be as pro-active as possible instead of re-active allows us the peace of knowing that we are somewhat prepared for many of life’s unexpected’s.

  48. We get hit with snow and cold in MN, but, in the cities, we really don’t have emergency stock-ups. Politicians are careful to listen to their constituents and allocate to Snow removal/ sanding trucks accordingly or face upset voters at re-election time! With the cold, however, I usually keep my gas tank above half at all times, we have extra wood out back to run the wood stove in case the furnace ever went out (which has happened twice in ten years and that stove kept us pretty toasty for a night until the repair man came out), and the usual water, batteries and flashlights if we ever did lose power.

  49. What I consider necessities in getting ready for a major winter storm in Michigan: flashlights and batteries, candles and matches, can opener, a fully-stocked pantry, a warm robe and my bunny slippers. Now doesn’t that sound like fun?

  50. We got hit with 20″ last week. I usually have plenty of non-perishable items as well as candles and batteries, etc. So, the day before the storm hit I stocked up on a few staples, milk, butter, eggs, cat food and litter (since I knew I was running low and didn’t want to run out of either of those if I were stuck for more than a couple of days). I also picked up some extra ice melt. After the snow fall, temperatures dropped into the sub-zero range (not counting the wind chill). Having a good ice melt that can handle extremely low temperatures is very handy.

  51. I grew up in Ohio. You know that there is a chance you might have to spend the night in your car or hotel. Now I live in Cali. I have a generator and extra water always on hand. I try to remember to have the most canned food and basics like dry milk if there is an earthquake. I have all electric so I need to be mindful to have canisters of propane like we are camping. Batteries are always on hand. What happens without electric….propane grill and charcol grill. You can cook anything. Don’t use grills in an enclosed area. Shouldn’t have to say this but you would be surprised what people will use. What do you need? Basics like toothpaste, cornstarch (cleans hair), shoes…..go basic!

  52. We were in a 7.2 earthquake in 1989, when we lived in Watsonville, CA. We were without electricity and water for 4 days. They called it a San Francisco earthquake, but the epicenter was 10 miles from Watsonville. We were pretty much cut off from other cities over the hill to San Jose. We had an osmosis water filter that collected 5 gallons of water under the sink, so drinking water was available. All of the water came out of the toilet including the tank (downstairs) so my husband took water out of the water heater and kept a bucket near the toilet. We also used the warm water from the water heater to sponge bathe. I had enough supplies on hand, so food wasn’t a problem. We made coffee on our barbecue, and also cooked on it. We were lucky that it was in the fall and not too cold. I think even if you were snowbound, you could cook on a barbecue. We had a battery radio that came in very handy, so we knew what was going on in town. I’m mentioning the things we did that might help other people, snowbound or otherwise. It’s always a good idea to have your gas tank filled with gas in the winter. Our stores and gas stations were all closed. When they did open a couple of stores, they let only a couple people at a time go in with flashlights and store personnel. People were sleeping outside in parks too afraid to sleep inside. We had an earthquake aftershock every 15 minutes the first night, and they were around 5.0. We stayed in our car the first night for a few hours. We waited to go to the bathroom in the house after one of the aftershocks, and since they were coming about every 15 minutes, we would hurry inside between them. Also, we grabbed food and ran back to the car, plus I had made coffee, so I put it in a thermos and we drank coffee for awhile. Every time an aftershock hit, I felt like the hair was standing up on my arms! For months after, every time a truck went by, I thought it was another earthquake.
    Now we live in Southeastern Oregon, but so far only one big storm this year. The first year we lived here, we bought a generator because we kept losing power, and we were snowed in for awhile. But, since I live 25 miles from a grocery store, other than a small store that I can only buy milk at, I keep my pantry well stocked. I’m starting to feel like a food hoarder!! I buy cases of gf items from Amazon.

  53. Sarah Cassill says

    As a hardcore Dt Mt Dew addict who has suffered through a caffiene withdrawl headache a time or two in the past I DID stop at WalMart for pop the other day…..

  54. I moved to the UK in January 2010. This country doesn’t handle snow well. I move from PA, so I was quite used to winter storms…but here? Your daughter would laugh at the things people were buying before we had a big snow storm….and then when we finally got out to go to the store, the things the store was out of. The beer & wine aisle was completely empty. It absolutely boggled my mind.

    But here’s what I made sure we had before the storm hit. We DO have access to a corner store about 500feet away from our front door. The owner lives upstairs, so we knew it’d be open no matter what. Still though, we tried to stay prepared:

    Potatoes (if we lost power, we could cook a baked potato wrapped in foil in teh fireplace)
    Sausage (we could also cook sausages over the fireplace)
    a whole chicken (sounds weird, but I cooked this the day before the storm hit and I knew we’d be able to eat off it for several days)
    Coal (for the fireplace)
    firelighters (ditto)
    extra candles & batteries

  55. Mary Johnson says

    I currently live in Southern Alabama, and we only rarely get any snow at all. For me, I like to focus on foods that we can eat if the electricity goes out. When there was the threat of an ice storm here in January I bought peanuts, canned tuna and chicken, raisins, and peanut butter. Also bought batteries, flashlights, and candles.

  56. We always have a freezer full of meat and vegetables and buckets of grain for breadmaking and oatmeal. I try to make sure we have milk and eggs but the one thing we always make sure we have on hand before a storm is gas for the snow-blower. We get snowed in every winter at least a couple of times but we have never lost power during a storm. We live in rural Colorado on 2.5 acres with a 300 ft driveway off a cul-d-sac that rarely gets plowed. We are at 7800ft on the plains so we have drifting problems. 4 years ago we had drifts over 7ft tall. We routinely clear a path a car width wide clear out to the main street about 1/4 mile away from our house; if we didn’t it could be weeks before we got out.

  57. I used to live in New England so now in Fl. I still keep canned goods, water, etc. on hand. You probably have all you need for your survey with a few new ideas. I just wanted to add some things I didn’t see on the blog. If living in an area where you won’t be able to keep food cold without electricity (by putting it in the snow or freezing weather outside), then I suggest buying the smallest jars of things like mayo so the mini-size items could all fit in a cooler. We have a full-house generator but I would suggest people cook up some of their freezer food , refreezing in small, cooked portions. Also, in hot areas pre-freeze small portions of things that can be used if hot weather like after a hurricane or tornado will knock out electricity. Things like Egg Beaters, even milk freezes well. Don’t forget to open the freezer once and take out enough to fill a picnic cooler. Eat out of the cooler and keep the freezer door closed. Lots of folks mentioned having to go to the store for bread and milk and perishables. (Why do people run to the store for perishables? Wouldn’t you rather plan to eat up everything in the refrig/freezer in case the electricity goes out? Instead, many people run out to buy more things that will perish!)I’d like to suggest having substitutes for that on hand. I don’t think anyone mentioned canned brown bread. It’s great with beans, love it with cream cheese and gives a comfy feeling to having it on the shelf! There is shelf-safe milk also. I think a good project for you would be to make a list of things in your refrigerator and freezer and then look for things in the store that could be substituted with either canned, dried or dehydrated foods. That would come back to the original ‘spark’ for your idea. Like is ice cream a need or a want? (a substitute for that may be the new gums that come in flavors like mint chocolate chip!) Finally, I would have to say: there is no substitute for good chocolate!

  58. I would buy: batteries, flashlights, water, canned good = meats, fruits, vegetables, sauces. Bread, cheese, snack items like pretzels, crackers, chips and fresh fruit and some vegetables (things like potatoes and onions that don’t neccessarily need refrigeration).
    This survey was a great idea! 🙂

  59. [email protected] The Dollar Hollering Homemaker says

    I posted about preparing for a storm, here:

    I don’t really stock up on anything except maybe salad fixings as we have everything on hand. I usually fill up the sink for washing dishes
    I have coconut milk, canned soups, etc. I bake some muffins, breads, etc to have on hand for snacks.

  60. Lynn, the one thing I make sure I have but no one else has mentioned is a manual can opener! Got to be able to open all that food you have stockpiled and most people have an electric can opener now.

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