I’m not sure if Igloo jugs are available in places hit by these snow storms or if you happen to have insulated water jugs on hand. You can store heated water in these jugs for up to 48 hours!
I have tested this out when my water line was broken and it took about a week to get the line repaired. I used my wood stove to heat the water though the day in 2 large stock pots on my wood stove and at night I would “prime” the water jug with a quart of hot (NOT Boiling) water in two 5 gallon igloo jugs and a 2 gallon jug for use in the bathroom. In the morning I had plenty of very hot water (140-160 degree F.) to use for personal hygiene in the bathroom (2 gallon jug by the bathroom sink) and one of the 5 gallon jugs in the kitchen for cooking and cleaning.
Even if you have to heat up water in smaller batches the Igloo type insulated jugs will give you a place to store all that hot water while you heat more water through the day!
Starting with warm water for your daily water needs such as cooking or washing up save fuel and your own personal energy. If you store your hot water in the evening you have all night to recover from moving those heavy pots of water and jugs around so that when you wake up in the morning all your water needs are ready to be used without a lot of effort.
I have not tried using a regular cooler for staring hot water but the principle should be the same. I doubt a standard cooler would keep the water hot for more than 24 hours but that would be much longer than not storing that hot water at all. If you have hot water bottles ($7.25 at Fred Meyer/Kroger’s) You could add a hot water and sleep with the bottle under your blankets or sleeping bag to help with the cold.
A few tricks I learned about staying warm in cold weather while I was in the army:
- Drink water! Water helps your body regulate it’s temperature. Often in cold weather people don’t drink enough water to fully hydrated. If you are feeling cold drink water until you need to pee and if your pee is a very dark yellow, drink more water!
- Clean Clothes are warm clothes! I know it will be almost impossible to wash laundry but if your clothes get saturated with sweat change into clean dry clothes. I know many people despise cotton socks, undies or t-shirts as layer in the cold but I found it was easy to change out that sweaty cotton t-shirt or socks and then put on the warm layers of clothing. The Warm layers of clothing stayed cleaner and t-shirts, undies and socks are the easiest clothes to hand wash/dry!
- Keep your self clean as much as possible. If you can’t use water to cleanup, place a bag of wet wipes under your blanket or sleeping bag so the wipes a little bit warmer when you clean up in the morning.
Last but not least get your list started for things you need to have or want to have if you are ever in a disaster. Write down whatever you think you need as you go through the day. While a whole house generator and 5000 gallons of fuel might be one of your want to haves in a future disaster. You might want to start with smaller items like a French press coffee maker to use if the expresso machines has no power. A Butane hot plate with a case of fuel or propane camp stove so you can heat up soup or boil water. Heck if you can boil water you can make all kinds of food! A couple of 50 pound bags of sand for traction on ice. Camp lighting like propane or solar lanterns, always charging flashlights that are night lights most of the time but become flashlights when the power goes out. Water jugs, Water bob for the tub or water barrels. Card, dice, board games crossword puzzles and real books for non electric entertainment. This is just a few ideas for your list and don’t be afraid to write down things you have problems dealing with but don’t know the solution for right now.
I know the folks in Texas seem to be getting a lot of hate but I am keeping y’all in this winter storm in my prayers. Remember this to shall pass and you still have to rebuild so this will take some time to get things back to semi-normal. I’m positive there will be people selling of stuff/equipment cheap in a couple of months as they recovery. I don’t know why people always sell their disaster equipment off a few months after a disaster. Perhaps it is bad memories, lack of money or storage space, but it always happens. Now you will have a list and hopefully you can get some of your disaster equipment cheap in a few months. Those igloo jugs that keep water warm in winter can be filled with cool water or ice before a tornado or hurricane hits or be used for a tailgate party or picnic. That fire pit, grill or BBQ can cook food in the summer or boil water in disaster if you have fuel on hand. Solar power or generators used for camping or hunting can be use in a disaster again if you have fuel on hand to use it. Cash on hand is always good to have when the power goes out. It is also a powerful motivator when people want to sell, so having some cash on hand is another thing you need to add to your disaster supplies. I recommend $20.00 bills or smaller as that makes dealing with small change less of a hassle.
Most of the country got caught a bit off guard by this late winter storm. Here in SW Idaho got hit hard with snow but nothing like the Snowpocolypse of 2017. I was in good shape dealing with the snow and cold but even I dropped the ball on having enough canned cat food on hand so I didn’t need to go out and deal with traffic on icy roads. I have to say most city, counties and people dealt much better with the snow this storm. But the snow started melting quickly and the cold was only about 15 above 0 F. at night and the upper 30’s F. during the day. No freezing water or sewer lines as lines get buried deep below the frost line and no widespread power outages.
While I have no love for most power companies. I do think it is hypocritical to blame a power company not being prepared for freezing weather when many people did nothing to prepare themselves for freezing weather. If you are looking for a helping hand look at the end of your arm.