Extreme Cold Weather

How To Be Prepared For Extreme Cold Weather

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How to be prepared for extreme cold weather is obviously very important. This is the message I received five years ago right here in Southern Utah. It came from reverse911@sgcity: The Washington City Public Safety Departments are recommending that you do not drive tonight unless absolutely necessary due to freezing temperatures and extreme winter conditions.  Thank you for your cooperation in keeping our community safe.

The message came to me in an email, also my landline phone as well as my cell phone. If you haven’t signed up with your reverse 911 in your city, county or country please see if it is available in your area ASAP.

Most cities have you signed up with regular landline phones, but not your cell phone numbers. Things have changed because cell phones are more popular than landlines in a lot of homes.

I’m updating this post because I feel it’s important to remind people about Reverse 911 and staying safe this winter.

That was a really crazy day for snow in Southern Utah. Our neighbor across the street had 10 inches of accumulated snow. We had six inches, and it just kept snowing. I live in a desert area and we moved here to live far away from the snow. LOL!

Church Canceled

Mark and I got a call that all Church meetings are canceled for Sunday. They have zero equipment to remove the snow from the Church parking lots or roads. The roads were extremely icy.

This town is just not prepared for snow removal. That was the worst storm I have seen in the 13 years I have owned this home. Thankfully, we got some sun to melt the icy roads.

That weather was more like the weather we moved away from in Northern Utah. LOL! Luckily I purchased a snow shovel about 12 years ago.

Here is a picture of our backyard in 2006:

Extreme Cold Weather

Extreme Cold Weather

Here are some items I think we all need to think about in extreme cold weather conditions:

1. Check on your neighbors, some people have no idea what to do in extremely cold weather. Some have never lived where the weather reaches freezing temperatures.

2. Call or text your neighbors to make sure their heat is turned on to prevent pipes from freezing, especially if they are out of town.

3. Keep your kitchen and bathroom cupboards open on the outside walls. If the cabinet doors are shut the pipes can get colder than you might think. Last year several people had pipes broken in their outside walls. OPEN your cupboard doors if you are worried. I have heard you can turn on a faucet to have a slow drip too.

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4. Unhook your hoses outside, if not they can back up and the ice can possibly backup inside your walls. I have seen the damage from this and it is not a pretty sight. If the nozzles are attached that’s the worst thing for your pipes.

5. Make sure your car has the correct level of antifreeze it needs or you could encounter significant engine damage.

6. It is always good to shovel the snow off your driveway and sidewalk, particularly if your house faces north. I still like to shovel regardless because I don’t want myself or anyone else to slip on the concrete around my home. Plus, the top layer of your concrete can crumble if snow is left on and it stays frozen for a long period.

7. Make sure you heat your home according to the amount of insulation you have in your walls and ceilings. I am not a plumber, but I have seen broken pipes so I never let our heat get below 65 degrees. Period. I have helped clean up HUGE messes from broken pipes of several friends and neighbors. You will spend more on damage than the heat bill would have been, in most cases.

8. If you must drive in your car be sure and keep some supplies in the car you might need if you are stranded. Hand warmers, insulated blankets, medications, and a full tank of gas is a necessity. Keep some water, a few snacks, etc. Here is my Emergency Vehicle Kit post.

Here are some hand warmers I purchased at Costco (it contains 40 sets of hand warmers that last 8 hours each), also 3 body warmers. This is a great emergency item to have stored. Put some in your car as well.

Hand Warmers

9. Make sure your rain gutters are cleaned out or the water can freeze and back up under the fascia, soffit, tiles or shingles. I have seen roof damage from this due to mold growth. It’s an expensive repair.

10. Of course, we can talk after the fact, but be sure and have food and water in your house before we get a report from of our city or county to stay off the roads as shown above.

11. If you live where you must turn off your sprinklers or secondary water do it before they freeze.

12. If you lose power to heat your home, have a plan “B” ready. I don’t have a fireplace, but I do have a lot of quilts, hats, and gloves. I would be nervous if I lived up north where they have snowfall almost 5-6 months of the year. I would have a second heat source readily available. We used to have a wood and coal-burning stove in several of our homes over the years. I sure wish we had one here.

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13. Make sure your pets are warm enough. My Shih Tzus have a “wonderful dog” life. They are inside pets. I worry about those pets that sleep outside and their water bowl freezes in the winter and evaporates in the summer. Make sure the temperature is safe for the size animal(s) you have.

14. Make sure your car battery is up to par, you don’t want to go out and find your battery is not working. Check your tire pressure to make sure it is the correct pressure for the temperatures in your area. Temperature change typically means you need to get your tires checked and regulate the pressure. Check your windshield wipers. Replace if needed. Where I live they need to be replaced every six months because of the heat.

15. On a snowy icy day, I worry about the bottom of the garage doors freezing to the concrete overnight. Yes, I have had this happen to our garage doors before. If there is even 1/2 inch of snow or just moisture and the temperature drops you can’t open your garage door sometimes. I have seen the rubber seal stuck to the iced concrete and ripped off. We have actually had to leave the garage doors up an inch or two at night just to protect the doors.

16. In the State of Utah, you must keep your sidewalks clear of snow. Please check the requirements in your state, city, county, or country on what is expected in a snowstorm, etc.

17. Please keep up on your laundry when possible. If we lose power you will be glad you got it washed and put away.

18. Be sure and shake the snow off of your trees or bushes that have not lost their leaves yet. The weight of the snowfall or ice can break the branches. In some cases, you might lose power because of it. Only do it if it is in a safe location and not near power lines.

19. Purchase a snow shovel and snow de-icer, you never know when you might need it. Mark and I needed them back in 2006 and we live in a desert.

20. Stay home and read a book. Bake some cookies. Play some board games.

Please be prepared before the extreme cold weather hits your neighborhood. Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected.

Survival food storage by Linda


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  1. Great advice! Did you see that the Virgin River Gorge was closed and people were stuck in their vehicles all night? This is when an emergency 72 hour kit would be wise to have in your car!

    1. Carol, no I did not see that!!! I will check it out! Thanks so much for sharing this about the gorge! Hugs! Linda

  2. Where I live, an alternate heat source is not a luxury, it is a matter of life and death. Heat tape on pipes, generators, heavy duty boots in the cars, and sub zero gloves are all necessities.

    1. Hi Janet, oh my gosh, I have lived in Logan, Utah and that was a cold place for me! Even living in the desert I wish I had a wood stove, but the termites here would eat the wood. I just store fuel in airtight buckets. I wish everyone could have an alternate source of heat. I have cleaned up homes after pipes have frozen. I remember the heat tape and the rain gutter heaters, oh man!! I know you are prepared Janet, I love hearing from you! Stay safe and warm, Linda

  3. Linda,
    You mentioned cleaning your sidewalks. I get out as it snows and try to keep the front porch cleaned off. I have a ramp that I try to keep clean. Also I work on a path to my truck and then if I can I
    get in my truck and make a path for my truck to get out. If the driveway is to deep in snow to move my
    truck I slowly shovel out my driveway then run my truck up and down on it to make sure I can get out. I may not have to get out but I feel safer if I can make sure I can get my truck out. I do have a carport for my truck so that is a little less cleaning I have to do. After I get that done I work on the back deck, slowly but I have to have a path out the back door ( which faces north) in case of emergency.

    1. Hi June, oh my gosh, I remember those days of shoveling the porch, the driveway, sidewalks, etc. I totally know what you are talking about. If we don’t keep it clean, it piles up and freezes. Oh, and the end of the driveway where the snow trucks push all the snow along the street gutters. Sometimes it would be 4 feet high. When you mentioned making a path for your truck, I knew exactly what you meant! Be safe my friend, stay warm! Linda

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