Sunday, January 30, 2011

When nature goes on a rampage, be prepared!

Of all the forms of weather we see here in southwest Missouri, I think it’s the potential for ice storms that instill the most anxiety and fear. While tornadoes can cause more damage, they tend to come and go in moments. Icing events can occur over large periods of time, trapping all who are caught wherever they happened to be at the time. If the icing gets bad enough, the trees will begin to lose branches which fall onto power lines. (I’ve been through a storm like that and it’s no fun). Pretty soon there is no power and sometimes the outages can last for days or even weeks. (Many people who live in Springfield can attest to what it’s like to not have power for more than a week)! On January the 13th 2007, a storm left a broad swath of ice over an area that included the city of Springfield.  It left over 200,000 southwest Missourians without power and a landscape that resembled a war zone. That scenario may well play itself out yet again for towns south of that city if the worst case occurs. I live in a location that is just south of the city and which is smack in the middle of the area that may see problems.
So, I thought it might be a good idea for me to take stock and to have a plan if the power goes out and stays out sometime over the next few days. In all likely hood, nothing is going to happen. The storm may just dump some sleet or snow or perhaps nothing but a rain shower or two. You just never know, but I can tell you from long experience, it’s those times when you don’t plan that catch you napping.

This year, I have a small generator that is just big enough to run a small heater, a lamp and a deep freezer. Since I have a finished basement, I would move down to it in the event of a power outage where I can easily heat an area that is always at about 65F. I also a small deep freeze down there, and so would have a way to keep some of my food from rotting. Rounding out my survival gear are a couple of Coleman stoves, sleeping bags and other assorted stuff I normally have for camping out during the summer. I also have a large stash of candles for emergency light. The storm is supposed to hit us on Tuesday, so on Monday I plan to visit a grocery store, fill up on gas, buy food that’s easy to prepare and stock up on batteries for portable radios and flashlights. Since I know that the weather is forecast to warm up to forty degrees two days after this event, I also have an idea of how long I would have to hold out even if we get four or more inches of ice.

By having a plan and working it, anyone can get through bad times. A plan that will work for not only ice storms, but also for other kinds of disaster where the services we all count on can be interrupted.

Now, that I’m ready for bear, I can bet you all that absolutely nothing will happen and that's just fine by me!

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