Snow is Coming! Tips to Really Prepare for a Blizzard

Washington DC row houses and cars covered in snow from winter blizzard

To anyone who has not watched the news in the last few days, DC has been hit by a massive winter snow storm that is currently snowing down what they estimate will be 24 inches of snow on the whole area. For most of us, that meant that work was cancelled Friday, and is also expected to be cancelled Monday.


This is the second major blizzard I have seen hit DC in the dozen years I have lived here. The last was 2010, when two back-to-back snow storms dumped 10 inches of snow each on us, and we were stuck for a week. Bruce and I toughed out that stretch in my tiny apartment and survived. But we also learned a few lessons about being cooped up during a huge snow storm that we are carrying into this one. Basically, the biggest lesson is that it is a bad idea to get isolated, feeling cooped up, bored, and restless from sitting on the couch for four or five days straight. It’s also a huge waste of that time!

So, here are some ideas for you on how to spend your snow storm, a few survival ideas, and just a few of the things we intend to do over the next few days:

  1. Get out of the House When You Can

Even though it is already snowing just a bit, it is actually not supposed to start blizzarding in earnest (windy, white out, etc.) here until late Saturday afternoon. When you are stuck in a confined space for days, it can be pretty easy to feel cooped up. So it’s smart to use the breaks in the weather to get out of the house.

Stay safe – don’t drive. just get out of the house and walk a bit. (Believe it or not, mid-Atlantic folks, it is actually possible to walk a few blocks in the snow, and walk home! People in the northern half of the country actually do it all the time!)  Take a walk around the block, or over to the nearest park. See who is out and about. People watching can be even more fun under threat of extreme conditions. See which of your neighbors are salting everything in sight, and which are making a snow fort.

If you follow PopVille, you will find out that two massive open snowball fights have already been planned for the weekend in Dupont Circle and Meridian Hill Park. How fun is that?

One of the benefits of living in the city is also having restaurants and bars and haunts all around you. Get out and go to one while you can. Then hunker down at home when you must. It is amazing how even a couple of hours out can relieve the cooped-up feelings!

2. See Other People 

Any two people, stuck together for a considerable length of time, will go crazy.

So tonight, we made plans to have dinner with friends in the neighborhood. And tomorrow, we have brunch plans with a different group nearby. And Sunday night, we invited our neighbors, who we have been meaning to get to know, over for a glass of wine. It’s amazing what seeing other people can do to make sure you dont drive each other insane!

3. Stay charged Up

This is not the time to be an energy conservationist. While a storm is raging is not the time to let the battery on your phone run low. It’s possible that people could lose power. It’s far more likely that you might need to get in touch or stay in touch with someone. So every moment that you can, keep your phone and laptop charging. If you do lose power, you won’t regret it.

4. Plan A Lot Of Activities:

During my normal routine work week, if you told me that I was going to get three days off at home – I would consider that akin to a vacation.

I don’t know about you but I always have dozens of things in mind that I would like to do around the house, and as a little personal projects. So this is the perfect chance!

Plus if you make a huge list of to do list of activities there is a much lower likelihood that you will run out of things to do! Makes sense huh?

I would recommend trying to come up with a few ideas for each of the following categories:

1. Home Cleaning & Organizing

I always have a list of things that need to get done around the house, but never do, such as: hang the new lamp over thw dining table, organize the books shelves, dust all the base boards, re-program the one remote control that doesn’t work any more, straighten up that one photo that has partially slipped out of its frame, back up the computer files to the cloud. I seriously have a list that could take 3 entire days to accomplish. If I manage to even do 5 of these things, it will have been an incredibly productive snowstorm.

2. Creative Endeavors

For a break from housework, try on your creative hat instead! Try to pull off a DIY project, or learn a new hobby via YouTube, or do some cooking! The one caveat is that if you need any supplies you better grab them before the storm along with the groceries!

3. Life To Do

Not time like being snowed in to check some big items off the “life to do” list we all have! Examples: Write thank you notes, check your credit score, cancel catalogue subscriptions, update your Amazon 1-click settings, call your old college buddy for a catch up, back up your files. We all have that list of little nagging items in the back of our heads. If you have phone and internet, now is a great time to cross off a few of them!

4. Together Activities & Solo Activites

If you are trapped with other people for a long enough period of time, whether it is a roomate, a spouse, or your kids, you will all need some time “alone” in addition to your time together. So plan a few things to fill the time that put you in separate rooms, or even separate mental spaces – like taking a long bath while the other person watches a movie, or reading in separate rooms. It’s amazing how even a short break (an hour?) from each other can do wonders!

But in addition to alone time, I strongly recommend strategizing at least a few specific activities other than just a Netflix marathon. For example – a board game? A round of two-out-of-Three different board games? A YouTube yoga session? Making dinner together? Taking online personality tests? Home manicures and facials?

5. Get a Work Out In

Even though you can’t make it to the gym, getting up and moving will make you feel less cooped up with nothing to do. There are hundreds of free YouTube videos offering everything from yoga to Insanity-style work outs. Plus, almost evey person in America has some unused workout equipment in the closet. If nothing else appeals to you, go for the obvious – step outside and shovel some snow! Or sled, have a snowball fight, or make a snowman.

Don’t just sit on the couch all weekend! Do something for your body and it will affect your mood too!

Those are just a couple of ideas for you to consider as we are all going into this weekend. The worst enemy is boredom, and if you even think of two possible activities from each category, you will have come up with 10 possible ways to pass the time in addition to a massive Netflix marathon.

Good luck everyone!

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