Inevitably, the beautiful fall weather will end, and when it does, winter will take its place. After purchasing our beautiful 5 acres last fall, we were almost immediately hit with a massive storm. When I say massive, I mean 100-year windstorm type of weather. Yikes!
We learned fairly quickly and in the midst of it all, how we could be better prepared for the next storm. Hopefully through our experience, we can help you with your winter storm preparedness.
Keeping up to speed on the weather is important with off grid living. During the winter months, it could be your survival that depends on it. It might seem like common sense, but check daily for weather updates in your area and region. Here are ways we stay in tune to what’s going on in our region:
National Weather Service Smartphone App. Easy to use app. This is a great tool for finding out what is going on in your surrounding area.
US National Weather Service for Facebook. A good online source for weather updates. You can use your facebook app to access the U.S. National Weather Service.
Local Independent Weather Sources. Although the big dogs like the National Weather Service do a good job, using a local source can be a more precise way of obtaining weather news. A local source will know the area well and can make more detailed predictions.
The News. Although it’s not used primarily for weather updates, the news will usually broadcast any major weather changes.
Radio Communications. Having radio communication that does not need electricity is very beneficial. This way, if the power goes out or is down for multiple days, you have a means of staying connected and informed on what is going on.
Talking to People. If you don’t have access to any of the above resources, talking with seasoned neighbors, who can judge the weather well, is better than nothing.
We strive to have our daily and basic needs met. But in the case of bad weather, and the possibility of having to stay on the homestead for multiple days, here are the things we emphasize.
Food. We know. Kind of a no-brainer. But you would be surprised at the amount of food you can go through if a large winter storm comes through and suggests you stay put for 3 or 4 days. It’s always a good idea to have non-perishable items on hand. Canned goods, dried goods, pastas and beans are all great examples of what to stock up on.
Water. We have a 600+ gallon water tank as our off grid water system, that is at the top of the hill and is gravity fed. We go into town to a local community water source to fill our tank. By continuing to keep our water tank full, we could easily go a month, maybe 2 if we had to without having to refill. When there is a storm headed our way, we will top off our water, just in case. It hardly ever gets down below half a tank, but you can never be too careful with winter weather.
Power. Solar power is our main energy source. But not everyday is going to be sunny, especially during a storm. We have a fuel run generator that operates everything when the days are cloudy. When we know a storm is brewing, we head to town to fill up on fuel and always try to have at least 5 extra gallons on hand.
Firewood. Figure out your heat source, and always have a back up. Chopping firewood and having a large supply on hand is always a good idea for the winter months. Electricity can fail, but lighting a good old fashioned fire, won’t. Keeping your shelter warm can help prevent pipes and food from freezing.
Warmth. Staying warm during a winter storm is key. Even if you have a good heat source for your shelter, always dress your body for the worst. You never know when or if you will have to go outside during the storm. You want to be ready in a moment’s notice.
It might seem foolish to build a temporary structure armed for weather-battle. But you will not regret doing so when 90 mile an hour winds come through and you’re safe and snug in your domain.
If it can blow away, just assume it will. Wind gusts are fickle beasts and you never know how a certain wind will blow and lift something off the ground and carry it away — or carry it right into a window. Things we make sure are secured down are patio furniture, building materials, outdoor cooking stoves and firewood (which we tarp).
Coming inside from a storm is hard enough, without being caked to your knees in mud. Not only that, but if a storm hits suddenly, you don’t want to spend 10 minutes slopping through a mud hole to get to your dwelling. From the beginning, Jesse thought about this issue. We had a couple loads of ¾” minus rock delivered and laid down. It now paves the driveway and living area.
We love hearing from seasoned homesteaders, or newbies alike. Do you have any crucial comments or tasks you complete before a major storm? Tips and tricks to get you through? Things you did or should have done? Comment with your advice!
Alyssa Craft moved to Idaho after purchasing 5 acres of land where she will build an off grid homestead from scratch. She is blogging about the journey from start to finish in hopes of inspiring others that wish to take a similar path. Follow Alyssa on her blog Pure Living for Life, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. View Alyssa’s other MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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