When I was in 2nd grade my mother helped me write a poem that ended up being published in our school newsletter.
I saw a little snowflake all dressed in white,
it landed on my windowsill just the other night.
The night I saw the snowflake I went to tell my mother,
when we got back, guess what, there came another.
I often think about this as we enter the winter season. It’s funny how your childhood memories carry so much meaning in your adult life.
Most of us have endured a snowstorm in our lifetime. It can be thrilling, scary, or even inconvenient depending upon where you live, what your past experiences have been, and what impact it has on you at that moment. When I wrote the poem above, I was thrilled by a snowstorm. It meant a day at home to watch TV, go sleighing, and drink hot cocoa – all better options than going to school. As we get older, our experiences influence our responses to many things including snow storms. The thrills of youth become the anxiety of old. Keeping yourself, your family, and your home safe are most important. You should always pay attention to driving conditions, whether you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, or one that you may be most vulnerable in.
Unlike most of us, meteorologists look forward to the possibility of a storm. They study it closely and report worst case scenarios to make sure everyone is aware of the potential hazards. It’s important to know the terms of what they are forecasting. For instance, what’s the difference between a “Watch” and a “Warning”? According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a Watch is issued when there is a potential for winter weather in the next 48 hours. They issue Warnings when the storm is more imminent. In situations like severe winter storms, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. With winter storms on the horizon, the Department of Homeland Security has suggestions that could help with your pre-storm preparations:
- Have a communication plan in case your family is not together. Know how you will contact each other and what to do in the case of an emergency.
- Make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working properly.
- Keep fire extinguishers handy and accessible to everyone in the household. Due to the increased usage of alternate heating sources, there is the additional risk of house fires.
- Know how to turn off water valves in case the pipes burst.
- Consider covering your windows from the inside with plastic to keep the cold air out.
- Keep pets indoors.
- Know where the manual release is for your electric garage door.
- Fill a gallon container with water and place in freezer to keep food cold.
- Make sure you have an alternate charging option for your cell phones in case of power failure.
Speaking of power failure, portable generators can be a great resource to provide enough power to stay warm – as long as they are used safely. The video Generator Safety Tips offers important safety information on using a generator.
We can’t control the weather, so hunker down, drink hot cocoa, and most importantly, stay safe and warm.