Skip to Content

Winter Storm Preparedness in the South

Power - by Joe Weber - updated on 1/24/2023

Light bulbs with icicles

Living in the southern states has its perks: the summers are long, the winters are short, everyone is just a little happier, AKA that "southern hospitality", and so many more reasons. But what the "South" is not used or prepared for are bad winter storms. As we've seen in recent years some southern states, like Texas, have had unprecedented winter weather with widespread power outages and ice accumulation that left people stranded for days.

How Can I Protect My Family During A Blizzard?

One of the most important things you can do in a winter storm is to make sure you and your family are safe. While not common, heavy snow, freezing rain, ice and freezing temperatures can happen in most parts of the southern half of the United States. The best way to protect your family in a winter emergency is to make a family emergency plan and to keep an emergency kit that has the necessary items needed for any emergency situation.

How Do I Create An Emergency Plan?

Preparing an emergency plan if you live in the south is no different than if you live in Minnesota or Wisconsin. There are several things that you need to consider when creating a plan:

  • You need to consider whether you should evacuate or shelter in place.
    With winter storms, you typically receive some advance warning, which offers an opportunity to prepare in advance.
  • If you have to leave the house make sure that it is safe to drive.
    Many roads in the south are not pre-treated for ice like they are in a lot of northern states. Give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to be and communicate with family that you made it safely. Be sure to have an emergency kit in your car for the winter.
  • Have a communication plan.
    When winter storms bring unexpected severe weather, families need to know how they will communicate with each other. Make sure phones are charged and keep power banks charged and ready.
  • Determine what to do if you lose power while sheltering in place.
    Do you have alternate heating sources or a backup generator? Make sure that if you are home with no power you have a way to stay warm until the power returns.
  • Make sure you plan for people with special needs that may need extra care.
  • Pets are an important part of the family.
    Have a plan to care for your pets.
  • Know where the water shut off is and how to use it.
    If the temperature gets low enough your water pipes could freeze in your home. Know how to shut off the water to avoid burst pipes.

Having a plan will help ensure that your family is safe and healthy during winter storms and emergencies.

What Should I Have in My Emergency Kit?

It's important to have several things on hand in case of an emergency. Batteries Plus can help you stock up on many of these items. Be sure to keep at least the below items together in a duffel bag or backpack somewhere easily accessible to grab in a hurry if needed.

For a comprehensive list of items and tips for creating an emergency kit,  , a US government site dedicated to disaster prep, has created a handy and easy-to-use guide to build an emergency kit  .

Should I Stock Up On Anything For the Winter?

There are definitely items that you should stock up on that won't necessarily fit in your emergency kit. These items should be purchased beforehand and replaced when and if they expire to avoid any additional headaches when you need to use them.

  • Water
    You should have at least a gallon of water per person per day for several days for drinking and sanitation.
  • Food
    Keep at least a several-day supply of non-perishable food for you and your family.
  • Garbage bags, moist towelettes and zip-ties
    No one likes to talk about it but if your water is off, the toilets won't work. Keep these things on hand for sanitation.
  • Warm clothing

Is There Anything Else I Should Have?

If you are in a shelter-in-place situation, you will want to make sure you have a few common tools to make your experience a little easier.

  • Whistles (to signal for help if needed)
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Portable power chargers for cell phones
  • Space heater (be safe and only operate in a safe space with room around the unit to reduce fire risks)
  • Prescription and non-prescription medications
  • Games, books and activities to help pass the time

Are Generators Worth Having for My Home?

As we, unfortunately, learned a couple of years ago during the extreme winter weather in the February 2021 winter storm in Texas  , many states, like Texas, are not equipped to handle the extreme weather conditions that can sometimes happen in the winter. Texas is not alone in this. Many southern states have power grids that are not designed to handle the demands that come with extreme cold.

What's an easy way to keep the power on in an emergency? A generator or portable power station. Generators and Power Stations can provide your home with enough power to run necessary home equipment in the event of an emergency. Batteries Plus carries a large selection of Champion generators and Goal Zero renewable energy power stations to fit your home's power demands.

Expert Tip

In many southern states like Texas and Oklahoma, new homes are being built with generators already wired in. Many people in these states know that the power grids are sensitive and are proactive and are ready for an emergency. If you aren't one of the lucky ones with a pre-wired generator in your home, stop into Batteries Plus or visit us online to purchase your new generator and contact your utility company to have a technician come out and install the necessary equipment to have a generator switch on automatically when the power goes out.

How Do I Choose A Generator?

In "Everything You Need to Know About Generators (And Why You Should Have One)" we discuss all you need to know about generators and how to choose the right generator for your home. Using this helpful information, you will be able to get the right size generator to run all of the necessary equipment in your home to keep you safe during a power outage in the winter.

Batteries Plus Can Help You Prepare for Anything

Whether you are looking to improve your emergency kit or start working on setting up a home power backup generator, Batteries Plus can help. We're not just about batteries, we've got you covered with all of our emergency preparedness equipment from batteries and flashlights all the way to generators and rechargeable heated hand warmers and seating pads. Stop in today to have your car or truck battery tested free of charge and to see how we can help you be prepared for anything.

Are you prepared for an emergency?

Emergency Prep Guide