A blizzard, snowstorm, or even a heavy snowfall at the wrong time or in the wrong place can be a rude surprise for homeowners without the necessary supplies for prep and cleanup. Don't be caught off guard the next time the white stuff threatens to cripple your region. Prepare for a blizzard ahead of time and arm yourself with these goods and be ready to deal with the chilly aftermath.
What Should You Do Before, During, and After a Blizzard?
There are 14 essentials to help you with prepare for a blizzard. Here is what you should have on hand before a snowstorm, the generators you’ll need during the blizzard, and then equipment to clean up with afterwards.
1. Hand Crank Light
Lanterns and other lights that don't require electricity are a necessity for any household, but a hand crank one is a requirement in any basic storm kit. This super-bright LED lantern never needs batteries—just an occasional wind-up to keep the light shining as long as needed.
2. Hand Crank Radio
Finding a way to get the news while your power's down is essential. This modern hand-crank unit not only delivers traditional news via the radio, but can help keep you connected to friends and family with a mobile phone charger and a USB input.
3. Freeze Alarm
Being alerted to the fact that your home has lost power before you walk into a freezing, dark house can prepare you for the challenges you'll face when you get home. This little device can be programmed to call as many as three numbers when your home's power goes out or the temperature drops out of the designated range.
4. Battery Backup Sump Pump
Snow may be pretty and all, but it's still just frozen water. If the temps warm up and that snow starts melting, you could end up with a flooded basement—a double whammy if the power goes out too, taking your sump pump with it. A battery backup sump pump is your basement's best friend because it's there all the time, especially when you lose power and need it the most.
5. Emergency Kit
To best prepare for a blizzard, follow the advice of the American Red Cross and assemble a single bag full of items that are essential for survival during a disaster. Items in the kit will vary based upon the size of your family and each person's medications. See the minimum supplies list suggested by the Red Cross.
6. Weatherseal Tape
The window repair man may busy tending to his own storm-ravaged home. This cold temp-safe clear tape is nice to have around in the case of cracked windows from tree branches and other flying debris. Or, use it to seal air leaks where you feel drafts for a quick, temporary fix.
Generators and Portable Power
7. Airtight Gas Can
Several items in our emergency prep list run on gasoline, so an airtight gas can is an absolute must. This one has child-resistant features and an automatic venting system for safer storage.
8. Portable Generator
No need for heavy lifting with this 45-pound generator designed for camping. It will run for eight hours at half load and operates on gasoline, making it ideal for basic emergency use.
PowerPro Technology Gasoline Generator, about $165 sears.com
9. Sturdy Work Gloves
Snow and debris removal is quicker and safer with a sturdy pair of gloves. Choose ones that won't easily tear or let in moisture to slow you down.
Waterproof gloves, about $35 westcountygardener.com
Branches weighed down by heavy wet snow can become fallen limbs or even downed trees. Saw them into manageable pieces for safe and easy removal—and in some instances, firewood use. Our editors recently tested several chainsaws on the market and this one won out for ease in use and insulation from engine vibration.
See more of our chainsaw picks.
Snow and Ice Removal
11. Lock De-Icer
Being locked out of your home or car during a snow storm or below-freezing temperatures could leave you shivering in the cold. Keep this hand-held deicer on your keychain throughout winter just in case.
The Hillman Group Lock De-icer, about $5 lowes.com
12. Walk Behind Salt Spreader
Keeping driveways and walkways free from snow and ice is considerably easier with a salt spreader. This walk behind model is easy to operate and covers a large radius to help get the job done faster.
Buyers SaltDogg Walk Behind Snow Broadcast Spreader, about $350 amazon.com
13. Height-Adjustable Snow Shovel
Shoveling snow can be back-breaking work. Save your back for other activities, like riding out the storm in your recliner with a cup of hot chocolate. This shovel adjusts to the height of the user, and has a mechanism to lift and dump snow without forcing the shoveler to bend.
Bigfoot 54 in. Power Lift Snow Shovel, about $40 homedepot.com
14. Gasoline-Powered Snow Thrower
Have a driveway that's too large for clearing snow drifts with a shovel? This gas-powered thrower promises to toss drifts up to 30 feet away and clear a path through as high as a foot of snow.
Snapper Gas Powered Single Stage Snow Thrower, about $400, amazon.com