I also bought Sterno to heat hot water for our French Press to make morning coffee inside because I'd rather not stand outside in snow to do it on the camp stove.
We don't have to worry about Sandy's Hurricane winds or storm surge charging into Central Ohio. Thank goodness! Instead we are going to get up to 80 mile an hour winds followed by ran/snow mix from the nor'ester wrapped around outside the hurricane like a Thanksgiving turducken. They predict power outages. If there is a blackout or severe weather our part of the city gets it. The only difference between Sandy and our typical tornadoes, freak derechoes, or blizzards that knock out power is the longest warning we get is maybe a few minutes before the tornado sirens go off.
For that reason, we have emergency storm preparations on hand at all times. We have had three week long blackouts since we bought our condo - including our Christmas in our then new home. I always have these emergency storm supplies stocked:
- Propane for our grill and camp stove because we have an electric stove that we would dearly love to replace with gas for several reasons including blackouts.
- A rechargeable camping lantern to keep us from bumping into the dark on our way to our supplies and emergency crank weather radio (you can learn more about it here) that gets TV signals to monitor the news. The weather radio also as a crank to recharge it and our cell phones during a multiday event.
- My soy candle obsession comes in handy along with our set of crank powered flashlights.
- We have a gas fireplace and warm sleeping bags to turn the living room into a slumber party room when the electric fan on the gas furnace won't keep the entire house warm.
- Lots of books, cards, and board games. Half of the time I deep clean the house because dusting is people powered and I need to kill time. Oh yeah and to have a clean house. There's that.
- Our HOA won't allow us to have generators so we make due with our tent camping equipment we use more for blackouts than camping.
- Coolers to save meat from spoiling in a defrosted freezer. The nice thing about winter blackouts is we have been able to put them in the garage as is and everything stayed cold. In one case our juice froze into a brick of ice. Hey, at least it didn't spoil.
blackout on my DIY blog Condo Blues. It wasn't pretty.
I take the early warning about losing power as a gift. This is how I prepared for Sandy
- I took Healthy Home Economist's advice and bought a few cans of Sterno so I can warm small items like water using our chafing dish stand inside for morning coffee/tea. I'm glad I put my single gal French press in with the camping supplies instead of donating it.
- I dehydrated a small eggplant we needed to eat put might not get to in time and a big gallon ziplock of fresh fruit salad from a summer party I forgot about in the back of the freezer. The eggplant experiment was a win. I'll add it to a stew or make ratatouille. The fruit salad dehydrated as it should but tastes funny because of my nemesis - freezer burn. Fail.
- I did laundry and deep cleaning tasks that require electricity like vacuuming so I wouldn't have to worry about it if the power goes out or make more work for myself if our electricity takes several days to repair since we seem to be one of the last neighborhoods on the fix list.
- I cleared all of the decorations from the front porch. It is less festive but at least it won't blow away to Canada.
- It's supposed to snow tomorrow. I picked every last green and slightly red tomato on my tomato plants and put them near my kitchen windows to hopefully turn red because fried green tomatoes kill my stomach.
- Fortunately, I didn't have to buy extra food. We have a good balance of fresh that can last a few days out of the fridge, keep in coolers, defrost for dinners now, and dry good pantry items. Prioritized ingredients and preplanned meals I can cook with and without power for the next few days. I think Husband and I deserve a cookie or something because most nights we Iron Chef it.
Now all we can do is wait and hope all of you on the east coast stay safe. We are thankful we may only experience the discomfort of a blackout and unseasonable snow and are safe from the brunt of the hurricane.
Do you have any hurricane or blackout preparation tips for us?
PS: Fun fact. While I was at the store today I read the ingredient label on a can of Spam. Spam is gluten free. Who knew?
Update: We were lucky. The wind howled and we heard a few booms but didn't have so much as the lights blink. We thankfully have power. My sister in Cleveland was not so lucky. She lost power and with the extra days of rain we got after Sandy's nor'easter she spent two days bailing water from her sunk pump.
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