How to Be Prepared for When Snowpocalypse Hits

I’m not from the South, originally. After spending half my life in Tennessee and one third of it in the Nashville area, I claim myself as a transplant and call it home, but true locals would still say I wasn’t from around here. After all, I wasn’t born in a Nashville hospital.

That being said, I appreciate the horror with which we respond to that dreaded natural disaster … snow.

For those who aren’t familiar with the panic snow can create in the South, please bear with me. We have some winters with only one or two dustings of snow that melt within hours or a day at most. Actual accumulation is very foreign to us! We also only have a few snowplows per area to take care of the roads. It really isn’t safe.

I spent 2 hours stranded at work yesterday after 3 inches of snow covered our city and caused a panic that jammed the roads with vehicles in gridlock from just after the snow began to accumulate around 3:30pm until late into the evening. Coworkers came back to work an hour after having left–they had gone just a few blocks in that time and decided to wait it out inside our building. Daniel refused to let me drive home in my little Corolla with a mere quarter tank of gas in it. He left at 3:45 to pick me up and arrived at 6:50. On a good traffic day, that trip would have taken 20 minutes or less. We left the office around 7:00 and braved the interstate to come home. By that time, the worst of the traffic had cleared and we only had to deal with the horrendous condition of the roads (even the highways were unplowed) and the scary driving of people less cautious than we. (Note to drivers: abruptly slowing down or speeding up quickly over a bridge that might be icy? Never a good idea. Slowing down to a crawl or coming to a full stop right before a slick hill? Also not a good idea.)

I hadn’t brought my snow boots with me. Or enough food to eat a dinner at work. Or a scarf. Or gloves. Or even a water bottle. I didn’t fill up my gas tank on the way to work, even though there had been a snow prediction. I didn’t take a half day to save myself the grief of driving home in what could only become a mess if the snow that was predicted actually came.

In short: I wasn’t prepared.

So, I thought this would be a great time to go over the things that I could have done to be more prepared. Things that, if you’re a Nashvillian, it would be wise to do next time the weatherman predicts snow.

  1. Fill up the gas tank! Check the oil! Make sure the windshield wiper fluid is topped off!
  2. Keep your phone charged in advance and make sure it is with you at all times. Have some emergency contact numbers written out in case you can’t use your phone’s address book if it dies. Bring your car charger, so it doesn’t!
  3. Bring an ice scraper (yes, I at least had that.)
  4. Store some non-perishable food in the car, such as crackers, protein bars, etc. Also bring water (but don’t keep it there, or it will freeze and possibly expand out of its container!) If your commute home takes 2 hours like mine did, you’ll be glad you have something to tame your tummy.
  5. Bring a blanket (also had this; I’m typically paranoid about preparedness.)
  6. Bring boots, thick socks, gloves or mittens, a hat, scarf, and earmuffs, if you have them. Just in case you have to get out and push a car or even walk to your destination if your car gets stuck.
  7. Keep a bag of kitty litter in the trunk. It helps add weight to the rear of the car, and also provides traction if you sprinkle it under/near tires that have spun in the snow/ice.
  8. Bring cash with you, in case you get stuck at work for hours and need a snack from the vending machine after the cafeteria is closed.  I wish I had! You might be craving a Snickers bar instead of your protein bar if you’re stressed about being stuck in front of your work monitor for hours instead of being home.
  9. Know where your important documentation is, such as insurance papers and your registration, and have it easily accessible, in case the worst happens and you do get into an accident.
  10. Be prepared to be a Good Samaritan.
  11. Load your iPod or burn a CD to keep in your glove compartment for cheer-you-up emergency use. You might be jammin’ in your car for awhile!

Don’t take risks, folks! Be cautious out there, and … when in doubt, sit it out.

{Photo: Taken with my Android phone from the window at my office!}

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “How to Be Prepared for When Snowpocalypse Hits

  1. Elaine

    I’m also a transplant to the south, but I lived in Wisconsin for 55 years. Now I live in NW Arkansas, and we also got record breaking amounts of snow yesterday (02/09) and record breaking cold overnight.

    Your post is excellent, especially item # 10! We all need help at some time, and at other times someone needs our help.

    I would also recommend that you always let someone know where you’re going in bad weather, and the route you’re planning to take. Just in case.

  2. Pingback: It’s Raining, It’s Pouring | Behind Closed Drawers

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