Thursday, February 2, 2012

OMG! It’s Winter!

The following was issued by the weather service this morning. They have been telling of the potential for this storm to be a major mess for two or three days now.

“The national weather service in Denver has issued a blizzard warning which is in effect from 11 pm this evening to 11 pm MST Friday. The winter storm watch is no longer in effect. Snow will develop by late this afternoon and continue through Friday night. Moderate to heavy snow will develop tonight and continue through Friday evening then gradually decrease by Saturday morning. Total accumulations of 12 to 24 inches will be possible over the palmer divide with 8 to 16 inches over the northeast plains. North winds will increase to 20 to 30 after midnight and continue on Friday with gusts up to 40 mph. Blizzard conditions will develop after midnight and continue through Friday evening east of a Greeley to Denver to castle rock line with visibilities near zero at times.  Snow and blowing snow will make travel difficult if not impossible late tonight through Friday night across the palmer divide and the northeast plains of Colorado. Pets and livestock exposed to the harsh winter conditions should be moved to a protective location before the onset of this storm.”

As I understand it, many people are freaking out about it. Personally, I don’t understand why. After all it IS winter and we live in Colorado. My family and I have been ready for this since fall. I admit I did make an emergency trip to the store yesterday to get an extra gallon of milk.

The weather service also felt the need to issue the following additional statements:

“Travel will become extremely dangerous or impossible late tonight through Friday night and is discouraged due to expected blizzard conditions. Consider delaying travel until conditions improve later this weekend. Road closures are a possibility over the plains and across the palmer divide.

A blizzard warning means severe winter weather conditions are occurring or imminent. Sustained wind and/or frequent wind gusts of 35 mph or higher will combine with considerable falling and blowing snow to produce widespread visibilities below one quarter of a mile. Travel will be extremely dangerous and is discouraged in these whiteout conditions. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you; keep extra food, water, a flashlight, and dry clothing in your vehicle.  If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle and wait for help to arrive.”

As for the suggestions in the above precautionary statement, the most important one is ‘don’t travel if you don’t have to’. If you must travel, keep an emergency kit with you at all times. This is in addition to the standard auto kit you should have. These emergency kits can be purchased or assembled. If you purchase one, you will still need to add dry clothing and maybe additional supplies. Make sure you have enough for everyone who will be traveling with you.

Here is an easy to assemble list for a simple kit. You can store it in a backpack, duffel bag, 5-gallon bucket, or whatever you find easiest to carry or transport.

Extra food and water such as MREs or emergency food bars can help keep your energy up and also minimize the likelihood of panic. The human body requires water to metabolize food so make sure you have enough for everyone. It’s also good idea to have water purification tablets, just in case.

Extra clothes protect against hypothermia. Multiple layers of clothes are generally warmer than a single thick garment. By having the ability to simply take off a layer of clothes, you can avoid overheating, which can cause sweat and dampen clothing. A change into dry clothes is the fastest way to get warm if you're wet. Extra clothing is also useful for protection from the elements, including thorns, insects, sun, wind, and cold. If necessary, they can be cut into bandages, used as a tree climbing aid, made into hot pads, pillows, towels, or makeshift ropes.

A first aid kit should always be in your vehicle and don’t forget a supply of any prescriptions you may need.

Matches, lighters and fire starters (always have three sources of flame) to light a fire, which can help prevent hypothermia and signal for aid, should always be kept available. In an emergency, a fire can also help increase your will to survive.

A knife for opening packages, building shelter, shaving wood for tinder, eating, field surgery (after sterilization of course), cutting rope and clothing, etc. should also always be kept in your vehicle. A multi-tool such as a Leatherman is also a good thing to have in addition to your knife.

Flashlights and headlamps protect against physical injury when traveling in the dark. A flashlight is also useful for finding things in the pack, observing wildlife in dark places and for signaling. Extra batteries and bulbs are highly recommended. Lamps using LEDs have become very popular, due to their robustness and low power consumption.

A map and compass will help you keep track of where you are. Losing your bearing in unfamiliar terrain raises the risk of anxiety and panic, and hence, physical injury. Maps that cover the area you will be traveling in or through in sufficient detail and dimension (topography, trails, roads, campsites, towns, etc.) and the skill and knowledge to use them are indispensable when traveling, especially when the place of travel lacks signage, markings or guides. Even a basic compass can help you find your way to safety.

Sunglasses to help prevent snow blindness. Sunlight, especially when reflected in snow, can seriously limit visibility, and jeopardize your ability to travel safely.

One more VERY important thing to remember: your cell phone, whether ‘in service’ or not, can always reach 911 as long as it has a charge. You may have to tell the operator where you are so try to know the road you are on and the nearest mile marker. See this page:

Do you know the hazards of each season in the place you live? You should. It’s just common sense. Here are a few winter season links to help you out if you don’t already know what to do:

My other sites that compliment this blog:
·         Kaya Self Sufficiency Facebook group ~ please feel free to join and share!
·     Kaya Self Sufficiency Website ~ a constant ‘work in progress’ and I'm always adding to it, so keep checking back!


  1. We have been waiting for each and every storm the weather man tells us about. The funny thing is we live in Washington state and you would think that since we get snow every year, we would all be ready for yet another winter season. I have to laugh when the extreme weather warnings come out and it calls for 3 or 4 inches of snow, like that is a lot for our parts...either way when we get snow it still amazes me how many people get in wrecks and drive like they have never seen the stuff.

    1. I grew up in upstate NY and we typically did our shopping once a month... I'm almost always ready these days...