Tips for Dealing with a Major Snowstorm

Seeing historic levels of snow heading to people along the East Coast, I can’t help but remember when I first lived in New York and I had NO CLUE how to handle a major snowstorm. I was lucky though since I rented from the family who lived in other parts of the property and they were well prepared. And I learned a lot over the four years I was there!

Tips for dealing with a major snowstormIt seemed like now is as good a time as any to put together some of the tips I have for dealing with snow. And since some friends were so good helping me deal with extreme cold, I thought I’d ask them for help. I think the extreme cold in the Midwest may have gotten to them though because the message thread turned into the best comedy I’ve seen in a LONG time!

So, what are some tips you can use if you are already home and snow is coming down?

Think Through the Storm

If it will be a short storm and your city is well prepared to deal with snow, that is vastly different than the reality of living in the south where snowplows are almost non-existent. Thinking about how long I am likely to be around the house helps me pace myself — cooking, eating, watching TV, playing games, etc.

One of the most important parts for me is having a plan of action in my head for the what ifs…. What if the power goes out? What if a tree branch breaks, etc. Those may sound overly dramatic but I really prefer to be prepared than to panic.

Enjoy the Snow

I know, I hate the cold and I admit that fairly openly. But there is something about snow that makes even me want to get out for a bit to enjoy it. How you enjoy it really depends on what you like, but here are a few ideas:

  • Play outside — Snow angels, sledding, chasing your dog, snowball fights…. whatever it is, just enjoy it for a bit.
  • Enjoy the Snow Host a weather reporter — My friend Stephanie in Alabama uses it as a chance to get Henry the sock monkey to do weather reports from their family farm. The early report today:  “The snow showers have finally made their way to Sand Mountain, and boy are they coming down. Temperatures should stay above freezing until dark so it’s not quite time to panic yet. However, it is time to break out the milk and bread everyone has hoarded like its the apocalypse. I’m Chief Bananaologist Henry the Sock Monkey reporting for nom, nom, nom, slurp…..”
  • Make snow ice cream — It is one of those childhood memories that I will never outgrow! Made some this week and loved it! I even made the Rum Chata version of snow cream that I did a guest post on a friend’s blog.

Eat Warming Foods

There are lots of foods that help warm your heart and belly. Chilis, soups, casseroles…. and of course my favorite red beans and rice! Not only do they warm you up, but the house smells so good! Of course a bit of dessert hits the spot too!

Traveling? Choose Your Attitude

Flights get cancelled quickly. Highways can get closed. People are more than on edge. If you are in the midst of it, you will find it stressful and some people have a few problems keeping their tempers in check. I’ve suffered through lord knows how many long delays at airports around the U.S. thanks to major snowstorms. If that’s where you find yourself as the storm hits, here are my top tips on snow day flights.

shovelling snow in the polar vortexGet to Shoveling!

It is easy to think since it is still snowing, why bother going out to shovel the walk or drive. But reality is you will likely want or need access before spring comes. Shoveling a couple of inches at a time is much easier on your body than waiting. If you are like me, you can do it in short shoveling shifts which also makes it easier to keep warm, keep your heart rate and breathing in good spots, etc. Also be sure you get the ice melt on steps that will get used or other places likely to cause problems.

Layer & Deal with Wet Clothes

Some folks don’t have the perfect snow gear. Don’t let that slow you down. Put a pair of running pants under your jeans and several layers on top and go for it. Dry layers against the skin are priceless and a good windbreaker on the top is best but lots of lightweight layers work great. When you come in, shed shoes and all the wet layers near the door you enter. Bonus points for dropping a laundry basket there on your way out so its easy to deal with them when you get back in.

Tips From the Comedians

After my tips I thought I’d look through the comedy reel that was the message thread with friends to see what they had to offer. Somehow a few actual tips ended up in the melee of discussions about what animals come in or stay out and how moving south is the best way to go.

  • Traction — If you don’t have salt or ice melt, you can use ashes from your fireplace (if you have one) Keep a bag of kitty litter in your trunk if you need traction. Learn how to do the penguin walk. Carrie of
  • Tuck? Don’t? — Don’t tuck pants in boots. Put pants on outside of boots = no snow in boots. Val of Wag n Tales
  • Kids — Layer my kids with fleeces then winter coats. Leah of Beyer Beware
  • Drinks — Make rumchata white hot chocolate in the crock pot everyday. Leah of Farmwife Drinks too! 
  • Neighbors — Don’t forget about elderly neighbors and relatives. Shovel their sidewalks before they ask. Debbie of Kids, Cows and Grass
  • Plumbing — Open your sink basin doors to keep pipes from freezing. Leah again 🙂 
  • Cars — Gas tanks are like wine glasses. Never let them get below half empty. Val again
  • Sledding — Oh if you don’t have a sled use your cookie sheets! Leah again, having proved she’s poolside (swimmeet) And Kelly Rivard adds you should spray those cookie sheets with Pledge or Pam to keep them flying!

And while I didn’t pull tips from Carolyn Olson, Emily Zweber or Deb Brown, they were certainly in the thread with lots of ideas! Katie Pinke is in the DC metro bracing for the storm and enjoying family…. she was too busy for all our silliness!

The jokes were going full steam…. that’s when I remembered one last thing…. spend some of that time in the house catching up with dear friends…. the kind you don’t talk to nearly enough!

What did we miss?

About Janice Person

I'm Janice & this blog is about my passions -- photography, travel, agriculture & whatever else comes to mind. Putting all those things together is intriguing to me…. I can spend a lot of time soaking it up! It's almost always a colorful adventure!

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