Sunday, January 30, 2011

The week ahead for a change - Emergency preparedness

Blizzard
It has been a good winter thus far - meaning not many storms and dumping very little snow. I have gotten to gloat over weather on the east coast. They seem so unprepared for it. But it hit me this morning as I was reading the Winter Storm Watch for the East Slope of the Sangre de Cristos this might just be serious


THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN ALBUQUERQUE HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH... WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING.
* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS... AS MUCH AS 15 TO 20 INCHES OF SNOW IS POSSIBLE IN THE HIGHER MOUNTAIN TERRAIN FROM THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE TO THE CENTRAL MOUNTAIN CHAIN. LOWER AMOUNTS CAN BE EXPECTED ELSEWHERE.
* TIMING... WHILE THE HEAVIEST SNOW IS MOST LIKELY LATE MONDAY NIGHT INTO EARLY WEDNESDAY... SOME LIGHTER SNOW ACCUMULATION MAY WELL BEGIN DURING THE DAY MONDAY ACROSS WEST CENTRAL AND NORTHWEST NEW MEXICO 

And am I prepared? Usually by this time of year buckling down for another storm is routine. Not so this year. The biggest snow this year has been 10 inches and no significant loss of power. For some reason this storm has bothered me since they began issuing advisories on a change in the weather. It is one of the reasons I changed my plans and ran to Taos yesterday to pick up fur kid food and art supplies.
This morning when NOAA weather service went from advisory to watch I decided I should get a bit more serious.
  • Firewood - check (need to move more into the house and on to the back porch)
  • Snowshoes - check (used to get to neighbors, wood shed or just play)
  • Containers of water - this needs done. Power goes out so does the well.
  • Batteries for emergency lights - check. 
  • Emergency lights - make note to locate all of them.
  • Book light and books to read - find and centrally locate
  • Art supplies to entertain me - Check
  • Fur kid food - check
  • People food - check ( plenty in pantry and freezer)
  • Coffee - check (okay maybe that isn't seemingly that important)
  • Dumb phone (all phones requiring a cell tower or an electrical outlet won't work with no power)
  • Snow shovel - Check (on porch where it won't get buried in snow)
  • Serious shovels - put on back porch
  • Gas tank of van full - check
  • Emergency road kit in van - check
  • Guns and ammo and cleaning kit - locate all
You might laugh at some of these but in the year of the 6 foot New Year's snow my firewood was buried under a snow drift my snow shovel could not budge, my snow shoes were sealed by another drift in the garden shed, and my renter had left the snow shovel sticking in a snow pile by the road where the snow plow buried it.

All passes in and out of my valley were closed for four days and we had a town full of tourists while the local market's shelves were devoid of food due to no supply trucks getting in because of closed roods. Some of the tourists hung out at the bars closest to the passes so they could make a quick escape drunk or not. To this day I don't understand why they gave up their hotel rooms and condos. If they could not get out the next person on the reservation list could not get in. And once passes were open there was no fuel for the cars until the tankers arrived. It was ugly out there.

It is always wise to remember that the one thing weather forecasters get wrong is mountain weather. This winter they have had it more wrong than right. But while they generally over estimate how bad it will be the 6 foot in 2 days New Year's snow was suppose to be 15 -20 inches total accumulation. Shit happens so be prepared.

Oh, and BTW On-Star is absolutely no help with roads closed.

4 comments:

  1. Ahh so maybe now us on the east coast can watch someone else get slammed for a bit, short bit as that storm is supposed to hit us too WAHHHHH.
    Stay Safe Jacqui

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  2. Stay safe - I think you are well prepared but the picture accompanying this informative blog is quite frightening. Haven't seen snow like that for years.

    You did say elsewhere that it's been downgraded?

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  3. Stay safe. Storms are wonderfully energizing and scary all at the same time.

    First aid supplies?

    BTW, I think coffee would definitely be on the must have list.

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  4. Being an avid do-it-yourselfer I of course have a large contractor's first aid kit.

    Storm is now moving in but no significant snow yet. Couple last minute errands to run in town.

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