QOD: Bad Weather: Bring it on? or Go Away!?


Knox-Vegas is right in the heart of the ice band…

I grew up in the Snow Belt east of Cleveland, OH. We wore our 100+” of “lake-effect” snow like a badge. From there I moved to Idaho where it got so cold that my gasoline Dakota actually has a block heater, and it wasn’t uncommon for your power steering fluid to feel like pudding when you first started the car. The floor mats of my old Wrangler were in a permanent frozen state for months at a time.

The fact that Knoxville comes completely unglued the because “it might snow tomorrow”, preemptively  cancelling everything and leading to a “Lord of the Flies” reenactment in the bread aisle of the grocery store never ceases to amaze me. Usually it amounts to nothing, or at least nothing of note to any self-respecting Yankee.

It looks like the Weather-Guessers might have gotten it right this time. For once, the weather is unfolding as they predicted… Sleet, changing to rain, changing to freezing rain, followed by some amount of snow. I say bring it on.


The freezing rain has started in earnest.

Ice is nothing to take for granted, but if I seem to have a cavalier attitude, it is because this is the specific situation I “Prep” for. I don’t think we are about to enter a complete breakdown of society in the foreseeable future (despite the doom and gloom in the news). I don’t live in a particularly seismically active area, and Tsunami are not a frequent occurrence on Fort Loudon Lake.

A hurricane remnant turning inland or another tornado is a possibility, but nothing that we would face in that situation differs dramatically in terms of preparedness. An F-0 touched down in spring 2011 about  a half mile from us (which we weathered comfortably in the basement of our masonry house) . But we made it through 2 5-day power outages (even with a 3 month old) without incident.

I don’t expect that this will be the apocalyptic event I am preparing for (an ice storm that knocks out the entire 865 area code for multiple weeks). But it gave me an opportunity to reexamine my preparedness situation. We have the better part of chord of wood, with more easily accessible (working on a downed oak about a quarter mile away), plenty of water. abut 17 gallons of gas for the generator (which will run the blower on the woodstove, give us lights, hot water (optional, but nice if it is neighborhood outage), phone charging, and entertainment for the kids. We have about a month or more of food stored (lots of canned beans), and most importantly a plan for “sheltering in place”, or a more apt description might be “we can camp in our house comfortably for a month or more”.

We have discussed my early efforts at setting up a “bug out” kit. I admit it isn’t where I would like it, but bugging out with a 6 and a 4 year old is not my first choice situation permitting. Frankly, other than heading into the mountains, I really don’t have a good place to go. That is a TEOTWAWKI situation, that I am not quite ready for yet.

I feel prepared to face our current challenge. I tested the generator, and the fires are going. I am settling in with my family to watch the snow and ice fall outside.

The kids are ready:


Things 1 & 2 built a fort. Just in case things get bad.

What are your thoughts on bad weather? Are you like the Norwegians who say that there is no such thing, just the wrong clothes? Or do you want it to go away?


  1. dph says:

    Here in Washington I wish we would get some snow, we are in for a long dry summer as of now. The snowpack in the mountains is about 1/4 of normal. So any cold wet weather that would bring snow would be welcome at this point regardless of the hassles. We are always ready for the worst in our household.

  2. In upstate New York “most” people are prepared during the winter for 2-3 days of no power, roads shut down, can’t leave the house type of scenario. I take it a little more seriously and try to have enough for two weeks of “camping” as you put it. I’m in a similar situation with a 3 year old boy, pregnant wife and a dog. So I would much rather stay put under almost any circumstance, rather than hit the road.

  3. Being of Norwegian descent, that saying is awesome!

    As long as I am off the road and don’t have to deal with all the other crazies, I say bring it on. My Subaru can handle the pressure but motorists in D.C. are bad enough to begin with. Add a flake or two to the mix and it becomes a sh*tshow. The snow hasn’t even arrived yet and people are already acting like idiots on the roads.

    I could shelter in place for a good while. We have never lost our water supply or gas lines, but if we did I have plenty of water and propane/stoves on hand to get by just fine. Enough food as well, and no children to worry about at this point in my life.

    We have a fireplace for a heat source, but not a huge amount of wood. Cuddling with the significant other is more entertaining anyway 🙂

    1. Forgot to mention my provisions for dealing with power outages. I have a small solar panel that charges AA batteries. You can obviously use the batteries for other items, but you can also charge a cellphone (or anything else with a USB port) off of the batteries by plugging into its side.

      I’ve also got a rechargeable (hand crank or solar) Shortwave/Weatherband/AM/FM radio.

      1. sagebrushracer says:

        much of the same, i did a project last september, built a lil 48hr kit, wool blanket, those all in one erations, batteries, lights, glow sticks, radio with crank. also, some tools, a couple of large crescent wrenches and a prybar. most any lock under $60 can be opened with 2 wrenches, clamp the body, and the shank and they twist right open. even a brand new swiss army knife and some vise grips with long jaws and wire cutters in the back. All the AAs are lithuim with a 20yr life and the food and water are 5yrs for storage.

  4. Roger says:

    I’ve got an “emergency” kit which is built to last me and my wife seven days. Inside it’s got mead, a variety of blankets, a well stocked and up to date first aid kit, charged and ready battery back ups for phones, and a few of those mountain house meals. With the food we have on hand and stored water, we’ll be fine.

    1. Sam L. says:

      Mead does make the time pass better. So I’m told.

  5. Zach says:

    Man, you’re making me miss Knoxville =). We were south of the river, around where Maryville Pike hits John Sevier Highway, and our lot was pretty woody, so we had lots of potential heat in a pinch. We had a long, steep driveway, though, and the wrong cars; we had that ice storm at the end of 2010, and I had to just leave my car at the bottom of the drive because there was no way I was getting up there to the house.

    Here in Utah, we’re way more suburban, but it does get colder and snowier. It’s generally less hilly (at least in a lot of the main urban corridor, which is all on ancient lake-bottoms), so getting around is not usually a problem. Still, we have a big pile of firewood and some food laid up just in case we need to hunker.

    1. I live a couple of miles north on the opposite side of Alcoa Hwy. Before that I lived on Martin Mill.

      Lakemoor Hills 37920.

      I miss Idaho though. I used to live 1//2 mile from the South Fork of the Snake. Between the river and the Great Feeder Canal. If my wife and I had won the Powerball last week we would be looking at buying a place outside of Livingston, Montana.

  6. Jon M. says:

    As a native Knoxvillian, even I don’t understand the insanity and idiocy at the bad weather. I will admit that Norwegian saying is incrediblely wise.

    But I do want the weather to go away! I’m perfectly fine weathering in place, have the supplies to stay comfortable for weeks, but I fear the “bread and milk” hysterics on the road. Plus I just spent a lovely 2 days of bed and board provided by my employer due to no one else able to drive in to relieve me. Ah, Tennessee winters.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

QOD: Bad Weather: Bring it on? or Go Away!?

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email