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Winter Survival Guide for all States

by | Dec 25, 2022 | Climate Change, Weather

Across the country, Americans are experiencing record-breaking freezing temperatures. To say the least many Floridians are struggling with the newfound cold. Some parts of northern Florida experienced temperatures in the ’30s, the 20s, and even 10 degrees! It was a cold Christmas for most of the United States. And Florida is definitely not used to such low temperatures and it feels arctic for many residents. However, the midwest and northern states are really feeling the frigid cold. Last week many states experienced temperatures in the negatives. It is not uncommon for northern states to experience negative temperatures but it’s too early on in the season to have them and it’s not typical to have such negative temperatures. These are some of the coldest temperatures the United States has experienced in a long time! 

I recently moved from the sunshine state of Florida to the frigid tundra that is now considered Chicago. It was shocking enough to drive from the warmth of Florida to the bitter cold of Chicago in the dead of December. 

I purchased a condo a few months ago and made sure to get a beautiful paint job and brand-new floors before I ever arrived. After 3 days of being in my brand new condo, I received a knock on the door that sounded nothing less than the police coming to arrest me. It was my third-floor neighbor informing me my condo was flooding. I ran to my backdoor and quickly confirmed that the space was beginning to flood rapidly. It sounded like a waterfall outside. I used my rubber floor mat to try to plug up the space between the door and the floor and put every towel I owned on top. I did my best to stop that water from coming in. 

I then proceeded out the front door, to access what was going on in the back hallway where it looked like the entire hallway was just pouring rain. The temperatures were in the negative so that water that was seeping outside froze immediately. The damage was done by this point. The fire department was able to turn off the water (I couldn’t break into the utility room no matter how hard I tried) and about 3/4 of my brand-new condo was flooded. 

This is the reality of living where there are extreme temperatures. This can be prevented by having good pipework and proper insulation. If you live in an older building with older pipes bursting pipes are more likely to happen. However, even with the best measures sometimes freezing and bursting pipes just happen. Mother nature always wins and the frigid temperatures are not something to play with. 

Recently we are seeing motorists get stuck on major highways due to snow and freezing ice. Blizzards can create roadblocks and unsafe travel conditions. Not to mention the amount of traffic that can accumulate during a winter storm. This can also cause accidents which can make a few-hour delay look like a cakewalk. Last January in Virginia a highway became snowed-in halting drivers for an entire 24 hours. Even if you live in Florida, take a look at our suggestions for how to stay safe and warm this winter season. You might be traveling to a colder state, moving, or just experiencing the new Florida winter. Either way, it’s always good to be prepared! 

Winter Survival Suggestions 

  • Warm up your car-No matter where you are going, make sure you warm up your car before driving. This makes sure the windows are not fogged and everything is clear. 
  • Make sure to thoroughly scrape and clear off any snow from your vehicle including the roof. Snow can fly off onto other cars and impact visibility. You want to ensure the ice is melted off any of your windows. Make sure to keep a car scraper with a brush in your car at all times!
  • Keep an emergency car kit. This is something to have year-round in your care but especially during months when the weather can be extreme. 
      • At least one blanket, but having a few for layering is ideal. 
      • Water
      • Non-perishable food and snacks. 
      • Paper products such as tissue, toilet paper, or paper towels
      • A car charger and an external charger. Make sure that the external charger stays charged so it is good to go when you need it!
      • A safety kit in case of emergencies. 
      • A spare set of winter accessories including a hat, gloves, and a scarf. 
  • If you are staying home, but especially if you are traveling it is advised to keep your heat setting on at least 65 at all times. This will help keep your pipes from freezing and condensation issues on the windows. If possible keep the temperate consistent. 
  • A great little life hack if you don’t have a ski mask or a gaiter, you can use a cloth facemask to keep your chin and lower face warm. It may seem silly, and if you’ve walked in negative temperatures before it will make more sense. 
  • Make sure to keep your gas tank at least halfway full. Gas has a percentage of water in it and this will keep the gas from freezing. 
  • If you don’t use your vehicle daily it is a good idea to start your car every single day. Let it run for 10-20 minutes you don’t even have to drive it. This keeps the engine and the gas tank from any freezing issues. 
  • Having animals during the winter can be difficult. Make sure if you have animals that stay outside (Florida residents will keep their pet birds on the porch) be brought in. Make sure when you are walking your animals you are completely bundled up. Many dogs need mittens if they are going to be walking on the snow or ice for an extended period. Do not forget that animals can get frostbite too. 
  • A great way to survive winter is by being a snowbird or just moving to a warmer state. This option is not feasible for everyone and there is no denying that it is the ultimate winter survival hack. 

About The Author

Julie Johansson

Educated in Criminal Justice and a true crime junkie. Former mall cop, fur mom and women's rights advocate. I am trying to engage in more important topics and writing is how I connect with my community and the world.

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