Sunday, December 27, 2009

What I learned from Blizzard 2009....

Here in OK we got a heck of a wallop. All the computer models showed we should get 14" of snow, but forecasters just couldnt believe it and so they prophesied that we would get 4"-7" which means people expected 2"-4". We got 14.1" And thats a lot. A lot for people thinking they could do what they needed to do on Christmas Eve and get home.


And you all know how busy Christmas Eve is anyway - so add to it all this snow and things were ugly and got ugly FAST.


My Hubs took my truck that day which was good but he also took my oldest child which made me a nervous wreck when the entire state of OK was put under a State of Emergency. There were highways where the only thing moving was the National Guard. I will tell you this, I didnt eat anything until my family walked through the door, which wasnt a good thing - snack in an emergency even though you wont feel like it. Also - I now know the best websites that update traffic situations and I am good on Google Earth (which has an unbelievable creepy factor since it shows real photos....)


My husband spent 4 hours a mile away from our house because of one old lady in a truck. He finally walked up to the front to see what was going on and the guy behind him went too and they got her out of the way - Hubs was home just 10 minutes later.


It was ugly and it was insightful.

Here is what we learned:

1 - Dress like you are going to have to walk home - not just in and out of a store. If you dont dress for it, at least throw your boots in the back of the truck. My hubs would have been fine on the walk, but my daughter wasnt - remember your kids.... They may roll their eyes, but make throw their winter gear in the truck.

2 - Just because you have a truck doesnt mean you know how to use it or are qualified to be driving. That iPhone or whatever isnt worth your life or someone elses'. Write an IOU and give at Christmas - I got one for a pair of boots :)

3 - Having a winch on your truck is fabulous! We pulled 3 out on Christmas Day on our way to my parents and 1 out today. The Hubs and I are fast at it now and get a car out of a ditch in about 5 minutes. And that counts turning around and asking if they need help. This is also a great feeling. It makes you smile - it makes them smile - and you use and become familiar with your gear.

4 - In a true apocalyptic situation it would be hard....emotionally.... John saw one family that ditched their car Christmas Eve and had to carry a grandmother/mother that couldnt walk. He couldnt help as he was stuck unable to move (see above) and they were just looking to walk to the nearest hotel - about a mile from where he was. Knowing you would pass those that you just couldnt help - knowing that things were going to be impossible for them would be very difficult, at least for me, and knowing my kids would probably witness it means I may spend some time in thought about how I would answer questions and give comfort. Questions like "Dad, can we help them?" will be hard to answer.

5 - Always - ALWAYS have a folding shovel in your car - PERIOD....

6 - People wait for someone else to rescue them - those people make it hard for those that can take care of themselves. This old lady had my husband sitting 4 hours - 4 HOURS. She just sat there - waiting - waiting for someone to step up and make it right for her. My hubs and a few other men did that - but they werent doing it for her. They did it for themselves - my Hubs did it for the child he had in the car. If you think you will be able to bug out and leave everything behind, that isnt likely. You will have those waiting for help that you need to do something about in order to be on your way. This could be a dicey situation. No one could drive on and just leave this lady behind. She was sitting in the only passable lane....

7 - Always have a map - dont rely on your cell phone or your memory - those tiny streets that go through you just dont think about would be easy to spot on a map.

8 - Always - ALWAYS - go to the bathroom before you leave any place.....enough said about that.....



All the above is in addition to having your truck or car stocked with food - water - matches - medical kit - blankets and a full tank of gas, yada yada yada..... You know the list ;)

I hope this snow found you home, warm and safe. If you were out in this, you know what I am talking about. This was a good trial run and I am proud of how my husband handled himself and how my daughter helped him. She didnt freak and did what was asked when asked. (She had to stick her head out of the window at one point to navigate for Hubs because of the white out situation.)

As always -

Pray - Praise - Prepare and go check those winter car preps now.....I hear we may get more snow this Wednesday....Have mercy.... :)

11 comments:

Samuel said...

Thank you so much for this post. Something I totally never thought about,

"5 - Always - ALWAYS have a folding shovel in your car - PERIOD...."

I'll be ordering a Glock entrenching tool to stick in my car.

***
"People wait for someone else to rescue them - those people make it hard for those that can take care of themselves. "

And this is why natural disasters that shouldn't be too difficult to deal with turn into calamities. People have been socialized into believing that Wal-mart and 911 will always be there to help them out in dangerous situations. If I've learned anything in military training - it's always have a back-up plan because you're original plan will fail; and always have spares because whatever you need will break right when you need it.

I'm glad we had this blizzard. It was a good learning experience, and it was the first really white Christmas I have ever had. I had a lot of fun playing in the snow.

It really made me glad that I have started prepping. We weren't able to get out of the house but it wasn't a problem - instead we were able to sit back, drink coffee, and catch up on leisure reading. We had enough supplies to be fine for a long time.

I think the advent of "just-in-time" inventory has made people forget that they need to have extra groceries in case they get stuck in a situation where they can't get to Wal-mart, or where Wal-mart is out of supplies. I'd never think to see a blizzard in Oklahoma, but you just never know.

Amy in Edmond said...

Thank you for adding humor to the situation. Having grown up in Wisconsin, we had this list memorized.

Sixbears said...

I keep a couple of survival blankets and a winter sleeping bag in my vehicles. If you have to hunker down in your car, it's a way to keep warm without running the engine. Prevents CO2 poisoning and you don't run out of gas.

Mayberry said...

Winches are wonderful things. If ya can't afford a winch, at least get a come-along, they can be had at Harbor Freight for less than 50 bucks. Get a tow strap as well, to extend your reach. I also ditch the crappy bottle or scissor jacks that come with vehicles and toss a 2 ton hydraulic floor jack in the toolbox (your truck does have a toolbox, right? If not, get one!). Toss it in the trunk of your car and strap it down with some bungees. Floor jacks are WAY safer than those wobbly little things that come with your car....

HermitJim said...

Glad that everything worked out for all concerned. Could have turned out badly...

Helping out when we can...that's what it's all about!

Meadowlark said...

Good words my friend.

Oddly, we add a bottle of gin to the in-car preps. I know, I know, but if I'm stranded in a hotel due to a storm, well... I might as well be the life of the party. :)

And no snow here :(

stinkyfungushands said...

Timely advice. I always keep formula, water, wipes and extra blankets in the car for the kids, regardless of what the weather looks like. Plus, our diaper bag goes with us everywhere, and is pretty much the best BOB ever :)

theotherryan said...

I have found the boots/coat/hat/gloves in the trunk for the season is a lot more realistic than saying you will wear all that stuff EVERY TIME you go out. You get used to it being winter and are just going to X so it isn't a big deal. That slope gets slippery and it is too easy to find yourself in the wrong clothes far from home. When I lived in snow country I would just put all that stuff in the trunk in November so it was there.

Did it MY way said...

When I lived in Michigan I carried everything in my truck to survive for a week. It stayed in the truck all year.

Now in Florida my van has enough in it to live comfortable for a month.

It pays to be prepared for the worst at all times.

Very good post.

See Ya

Survival Chic said...

Great post! There are parts of a hwy near where I live where when it snows there are always people stuck out there for hours at at time. So in our area you never cross a major snowy hwy pass or go out in bad weather with out a full tank of gas!

Would love a link on your blog roll...

The Hermit said...

I've been doing the preparedness mind set since 1999, and not long ago I still got stuck out in the woods after my truck hit a washout and went downslope. I was just out "for an afternoon" to get some wood, so I didn't transfer my vehicle bag from the jeep to the truck. I didn't tell anyone where I was going, and I didn't bring the VHF radio I usually carry. I simply did not anticipate any trouble. As a result, I would have had to walk out of a wildlife management area, in the dark, without a flashlight, in freezing weather had not some off roaders come along in a jacked up truck with a wench and got me out. Your experience coupled with that, reminds me that every time I leave the mountain, I need to be ready for an emergency. I knew that, but I just let it slip on by.