The United States Northeastern seaboard is bracing for Winter Storm Juno, a major storm system that is not, in fact, a quirky teenager who’s been impregnated by Paulie Bleeker. As New York, Boston, and Providence brace for impact, reactions from both officials and civilians have ranged from the blasé to the almost comically dramatic. However, the approaching blizzard is no laughing matter: the National Weather Service estimates that as many as 28 million people will be affected by the mega-storm, which may cause significant power outages, tree damage, and major flooding. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has implored New Yorkers to “Prepare for the worst” — but how exactly one actually goes about preparing for an apocalyptic snow beast might seem overwhelming.
The first thing to do, in this particular case: Forget any travel plans from Monday afternoon through Tuesday night. According to the National Weather Service’s official blizzard warning, people outside will be facing “life threatening conditions and extremely dangerous travel due to heavy snowfall and strong winds.” In short, STAY INSIDE. Second, take some basic, practical measures to ensure that you can comfortably hibernate indoors for a few days. Here are a few simple ways that you can stay safe and sane as you weather the storm:
1. Have alternative sources of light ready to go
Get yourself some decent flashlights. Before the blizzard hits, make sure that your flashlights are in good working order and that — and this is important — you know where they are. Keep one nearby throughout the storm, and have one next to your bed in case the power goes out while you’re sleeping. It’s also a good idea to have a number of candles at the ready, so that you’re not completely reliant on batteries. Skip the tea lights and glittery things that smell like cupcakes; instead, go for sturdy candles in glass containers with walls that extend above the height of the candle. These candles will last longer and be less likely to light your stuff on fire. Make sure that you have a few books of matches, keep them with your store of candles—because candles are completely useless if you have no way to light them.
And this goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: Be smart about open flames. Never leave lit candles unattended. You know what’s worse than dealing with blizzard? Dealing with a blizzard while trying to put out a house fire.
2. Get a battery-powered or hand-crank radio
I know, radios are so 1994, but you’ll be wishing you had one when your cell phone’s out and you’re desperate for an update. If you get one that is powered via a hand turbine, you don’t even need batteries.
3. Keep a stock of batteries in multiple sizes
Your flashlights and radio won't be very helpful if you don’t have batteries, so stock up (and make sure you have the right sizes!).
4. Get some cash
In a snowstorm, you’ll probably want to stay in as much as possible, but make sure that you have some cash handy in case you do have to go out and buy something. If stores are having power outages, they won’t be able to run your credit card.
5. Have plenty of warm stuff ready, because you’re about to get cold
In the case of a power outage, you might lose heat (even if you have a gas heater, some boilers require electricity to run). Make sure you have plenty of warm clothes on hand, as well as sleeping bags and feather duvets. If your heat goes out, pile every blanket you own on the bed, make a nest, and stay in it until the storm is over. You may also want to grab a few packs of hand warmers. Typically used for winter sports like skiing, these gel packets activate by having a user either “click” a metal disk or shake the pack. The action triggers a heat-creating chemical reaction, which might be downright heavenly if your space starts getting frosty.
6. If you have a fireplace, stock up on wood
If you’re lucky enough to have a functioning fireplace, stock up on plenty of wood. You might also want to invite your poor, pathetic, fireplace-less friends over to wait out the storm in your toasty palace.
7. Stock up on drugs
We're talking the necessary, medicinal kind, not the fun kind. If you rely on medication, make sure you have plenty on hand, just in case you’re not able to go to a pharmacy for a few days.
8. Make plans for pets
If you have a pets, make sure to keep them comfortable and safe. Have plenty of food and water on hand, as well as kitty litter. If you have a dog who is used to going outside, stock up on wee-pads and pray your stir crazy pup doesn’t destroy your apartment.
9. Charge your electronics
Fully charge both your cell phone and computer (in a pinch, you can use your computer to charge your phone). You can also use your car battery as an energy source for charging your phone, but be careful not to drain your car battery altogether—trying to jump start a car in a blizzard is pretty much the least fun ever. You can also invest in external battery packs for your phone; just be sure that the packs are charged before the storm hits.
10. Get yourself some delicious non-perishables
In the midst of a storm, there may be no reliable way to get food from outside, so keep a stockpile of non-perishable food at home. Have plenty of canned goods, as well as crackers, cereal, chips, and anything else that doesn’t require a functioning refrigerator. Just look at this as a golden opportunity to try Pumpkin Spice Oreos. Silver lining, amirite?
11. Stock your freezer with water bottles
Fill your freezer with bottles of water. The frozen bottles will help to keep things cool in a power outage, and you can drink the water. Win, win!
12. Make the most of it
Snow monsters don’t come around everyday, so make the most of the time you’re stuck indoors by embracing some electricity-free fun. Have some decks of cards, board games, and books handy. A little booze doesn’t hurt either. If it’s just you and your S.O., treat it like a date — what’s more romantic than a non-perishable dinner by candlelight?
Images: Crystal Marie Lopez/Flickr; Giphy (6)