Winters in Northern Idaho aren’t something to make light of, especially not in Sandpoint. The average amount of snowfall in Sandpoint, Idaho is 57.7 inches. That’s almost five feet of snow. However recently our winters have been filled with less snow, but rather lower temperatures and even more rain than snow. The winter of 2017-2018 is predicted to have lower temperature and wetter weather, as stated by EarthSky. The reason for this is because of La Niña, which is a phase of El Niño and brings in cooler than average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical pacific ocean.
Due to the fact La Niña is supposed to hit Northern Idaho this year, it’s causing some concern. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is worried about La Niña, due to it being the “biggest wildcard” for this year’s winter. NOAA also pointed out that fact that La Niña has a 55% to 56% of developing before our winter even officially begins. Which means everyone should prepare for what this weather will bring.
In Northern Idaho, power outages aren’t an uncommon appearance, so being prepared for a possible storm is a must. However, these power outages can last much longer than a couple of days, which is why North Idaho residences should be prepared for a maximum of three weeks without power. Below will be a list of supplies you and your family will need for staying home during a winter storm, and tips on to be the most comfortable when doing so.
Food and water are essential, meaning they should be the first things for you to think about. You need to rationally ask yourself ‘could I survive three weeks off of this?’ and if you say no, then you should go shopping. Water is very important, not only for drinking but also for cleaning dishes and flushing your toilet. The average amount of water used is 80 to 100 gallons of water per day. So if you rule out showering, the amount of gallons used drop considerably, but you still need enough water to last you and your family for a maximum of three weeks and prevent dehydration.
This means you should fill up a minimum of two six gallon jugs of water, four clean, five gallon buckets, which will be used for flushing your toilet. The current environmentally friendly toilets will take about one gallon in order to flush. If you find yourself running out of water, see how much water your hot water tank has and drain it out using a garden hose. Taking care of your food is very important as it has to last you just like water. Transferring any refrigerated or frozen foods into a large cooler and placing them in an easily accessible place out in the snow is ideal to keep your food fresh.
Camping gear is extremely useful in these situations. Purchasing things such as lanterns and propane cooking stove will make life much more comfortable for you. If you do invest in a propane cooking stove or a table top gas grill, make sure they aren’t electric, you will need around half a dozen (6) propane bottles in order to last you throughout the period of the power outage. However you must make sure that there is ventilation in the room that you are using these stoves in or else the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases tenfold. Opening a window slightly will create enough ventilation for you though.
For heating, make sure that the first thing you do is close off any unneeded rooms, in order to conserve heat. Stuff any towels or rags into cracks underneath doors to keep as much heat inside of the home as you can. Hanging black curtains on windows can also help as black absorbs the heat from the sun. Using a wood stove or fireplace are some of the most effective ways to heat your home. However a kerosene heater is another option, just make sure that it isn’t electric. Having warm and soft blankets are important as well for a comfortable night, but down sleeping bags can also be used.
However the most expensive thing you should definitely consider purchasing is a generator. Now, you will have to ask yourself if you do in fact need one and if you do, then you will need to plan on not using the generator too often. This is so that you will only be using non-ethanol gas and a fuel stabilizer, which makes it much easier for the generator to start. Make sure that you choose a generator that fits you the best, both in terms of needs and price. There are more expensive types, such as Honda generators which are quiet, making it more comfortable to be around. However, there are so many types, so it’s best that you go and see which one will suit you and your situation the best. Being comfortable and safe in your own home is one of the most important things after all.
So, will you be prepared for this winter?