Sometimes it’s good to worry

Randy Riley - Contributing Columnist

It just makes sense to me. When a person starts to worry about something, they usually take some kind of action to lessen their concerns. That’s only logical.

For example, if you’re worried about a test, you study. If you’re worried about a physical, you work out and lose some weight (well, at least some people do). If you’re worried about an upcoming trip, you change the oil and check the tires on your car. Again, it’s only logical.

If you’re ready for whatever may come your way, you won’t have quite as much to worry about. Physicians say that worrying is not good for you. So, I try not to worry; at least, as much as possible.

But, there are some things that definitely concern me. So, rather than worrying, I try to prepare for them. I usually worry about things I have little, or no, control over; things like… the weather.

Severe winter weather concerns me. It should concern everyone.

Mother Nature is not to be trifled with. She can throw things at us that can be downright deadly. It’s been a long time since the Great Blizzard of ’78. It seems that we may have forgotten some of the hard lessons Mother Nature taught us during that snow-filled, week of ice, wind and snow.

There is an old saying among people who are in charge of disaster preparedness: “The farther you are from your last disaster, the closer you are to the next.”

Early next year, it will have been 38-years since that incredible night that started in late January of 1978.

It started with rain. The rain turned into freezing rain and sleet. That was followed by high wind and heavy snow. The wind gusted to over 60 miles per hour. Wind chill temperatures dropped to -50 degrees Fahrenheit. Over twelve inches of snow fell in a very short period of time. With the wind blowing at such high speed, not just roads, but cars and houses were soon buried in gigantic drifts.

The storm raged on for over two days. The entire area was devastated. Everything stopped – everything.

Then, people started dying. Before the blizzard was finished, over 50 people died in Ohio.

Each of us must work to be prepared for the worst winter weather Mother Nature can throw at us. Certainly, we have seen plenty of really bad winter weather since 1978, but, remember; “the farther you are from your last blizzard, the closer you are to your next blizzard.”

Here are some tips, hints and suggestions that will help you get prepared.

First, remember that blizzards often cause widespread power outages. Whether you have electrical heat or a gas fired furnace, have a backup heat source ready for your home. Remember, even gas furnaces use electricity.

Don’t try to heat the entire house. Have blankets ready to nail up over openings between rooms. Also, don’t try to heat your entire living area up to 70 degrees. Dress warm. If you can get the temperature in a few rooms up to mid-60’s you’re doing great and you can survive.

Have enough food on hand to last at least two weeks. Don’t worry too much about the power going out in your freezer. In a true blizzard, you can store food on the back porch or in the garage. If the temperature drops below freezing, it will keep. But, have plenty of food ready. Canned goods and dry goods are best.

Don’t plan on being creative. Have food on hand that is easy to prepare. Don’t forget. Have a hand-crank can opener in your odds-n-ends drawer. A few cans of soup per person per day will see you through a blizzard. The important thing is to make sure you have plenty of soup and other types of food in your pantry.

Water mains can freeze and rupture. The rule of thumb is to have a gallon of water per person per day. Don’t worry too much about water during a blizzard. Just melt some clean snow and you should be fine.

The flow of natural gas will rarely be affected by a blizzard. Gas fireplaces and gas stoves are good to have.

Have a battery-powered or crank-powered radio ready so you’ll know what is happening in the area.

Have a survival kit ready for your car. Use a backpack or large can to hold a few blankets, some food, a heat source (candles will work), lighter and a container to melt snow for water.

Winters coming. Worry a little. Have a blizzard survival plan ready. Be ready to enact your plan.

Randy Riley is Mayor of Wilmington.

Randy Riley

Contributing Columnist