With The Weather Channel releasing the names that will be assigned to this year's winter storms, this seems like the perfect time to go over our winter preparations to do our best to make sure that we do not have a repeat of the tragedies that occurred during the Buffalo Blizzard of 2022 when Winter Storm Elliott dumped a few feet of snow on various parts of the Empire State.

Last year's winter season really left its mark on the Buffalo area. In 2022, Buffalo surprised its average annual snowfall just a few weeks into winter, and the area broke several snowfall records when winter was all said and done.

Considering the fact that winter seems to last a long time in Western New York, there are several things that we can and should do now to make sure we're better prepared for when the snow starts falling again.

The CDC, State of New York, National Weather Service, Department of Homeland Security, and other government agencies, along with non-profit organizations like the American Red Cross, all produce lists of items and steps we should take to ensure we're properly prepared to survive emergency situations in the winter.

The Federal Government suggests you have preparations to be able to survive for a few days on your own in an emergency in case emergency services can't get to you right away.

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for several days. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.
-US Department of Homeland Security

If there is anything we learned from last winter, we need to make sure we're prepared to take care of ourselves for a little while. So, we've listed some of the best suggestions from all of them below.

Tips To Be Winter Weather Ready At Home

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Have A Plan

Probably the first thing you need to do is make sure you have a storm prep plan. This is going to include, but not be limited to knowing when and where a storm is coming. Having a communication plan for your family and other important people. Knowing ahead of time where your supplies are and where the various types of shelters are, and being ready to act when things happen.

The CDC and Red Cross both recommend that you go as far as having emergency contact cards with important numbers and maps to important places on hand and stored in a safe place.

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Prep Your Home

A big part of having your plan together is making sure your home is ready and prepared for winter weather.

Before a storm comes, this will include taking steps to keep the cold air out of your house by updating your insulation, caulking, and applying weather stripping. You can also put insulation on your pipes to help keep them from freezing and make sure you have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors working their battery backups in working order.

While you're at it in the house, you should also gather enough supplies for anywhere from 3 to 7 days. When you do this planning, consider the needs of each person in your household (including any pets).

Those supplies should include food, water, medicine, extra batteries, and chargers for your devices. Also, make sure you have enough warm clothing, like hats, gloves, and blankets for everyone.

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Prep Yourself

Once you have your house prepped, you also have to make sure that you have everything you need, just in case you have to go outside in a storm or leave your home if you lose power. If this happens, plan to dress properly. Make sure to keep your nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes covered in warm, dry clothes because these are the first body parts that are at risk for frostbite. Also, make sure you are wearing layers of loose-fitting clothing.

If your house gets too cold, then make sure you know ahead of time where you're going and make sure you let people know that as well.

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Gather Necessary Information to Stay Updated

One of the biggest things that I noticed is that people were saying they did not know the last two storms would be as bad as they were. One way to make sure this doesn't happen again is to make sure you are getting the proper updates from reputable sources. This includes New York State, Erie County, the City of Buffalo, and your favorite radio station.

Having these apps on your devices and the alerts turned on can ensure you are in the know the next time something urgent happens.

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Gallery Credit: Ed Nice

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Various Photos from around Buffalo and Western New York during and after Winter Storm Elliott brought a cyclone bomb to the area.

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