It’s never going to hurt to be 

prepared in an emergency

Irony is ordering an emergency weather radio from eBay, and the day it is supposed to arrive in the mail, it is delayed due to a massive weather event. For Michigan residents, especially in the month of February, it’s just another day of the week. We are seasoned to the cold weather and the snow and by this time of year we’ve come to expect frigid weather, random snow storms and the other issues that crop up in states where you deal with winter, real winter.

In some states that do not have what I consider a “real” winter, like Texas, this type of weather can be devastating, as we have seen recently in the news. Usually in Michigan this time of year we are envious of the warm weather they are enjoying in Texas, but not this year.

Most mornings this time of year, it’s pretty common to have to scrape your windshield with an ice scraper before you fire your car up and go to work. Sometimes there is a thin layer of snow on the car that needs to be swept off before you head out. There could be icy conditions on the roadway as you head to wherever you have to go that morning, but the fact remains the same, dealing with wintry conditions for Michigan residents is a daily occurrence – much to our dismay – for a good part of the year.

It’s the pact that many of us make with Mother Nature to live in one of the best states in the country, and a place where you can enjoy four seasons throughout the year. That being said, when winter acts like it is right now, you pray for spring more and more.

In the past I have written about friends of mine who live in different parts of the country and world, and how winter weather has affected them. There is my friend from Wales, who I wrote about a few years ago, and the huge snowstorm that they had unexpectedly there. In Wales, they do not have the infrastructure to handle large amounts of snow, so when around a foot or more of snow fell on the streets in Barry, Wales, and other parts of that country, the entire part of the country shut down for days.

Not only could the vehicles not get through the snow, but they didn’t even have snow plow trucks that could work to clear the streets, because why would they need those trucks? Ninety-nine percent of their time, if not more, they do not have to deal with winter weather like we do in northern Michigan.

You may have read about what people in Texas are enduring right now because of a historic winter storm, bringing massive amounts of snow and subzero temps to parts of the state, areas where this typically never happens, and the trials and tribulation they are enduring down there.

My friend in Austin, Texas was at first delighted to see snow in her yard, and sent photos and short videos of her and others playing in the snow on makeshift sleds, and trying to make snowmen from the fluffy snow.

“You can’t make a snowman with that kind of snow,” I thought to myself, but I didn’t want to tell her to spoil her fun. But that fun for a lot of Texans turned into an emergency situation as the Texas power grid began shutting down for a variety of reasons, leaving many people out in the cold.

My friend, fortunately, lives on a power grid in a part of the city that never is shut down because of its proximity to hospitals, but there are others in Austin who are basically living without any source of heat whatsoever. 

As of late last week it looked like they are slowly getting back to normal in the Lone Star State, and I am glad. This column was originally meant to poke fun at our neighbors to the far south and how even though they are boisterous and one of the most outspoken states in the union, they couldn’t handle a little bit of winter weather. I think it is interesting to talk to people who have new experiences, like my friend who has never really got to spent time playing around in the snow. Well as the freak weather event turned into a state disaster for them, the focus of the column and I could no longer poke fun at Texas, as there are people I care about down there and it wouldn’t be right.

What it did do is solidify my resolve to always have a backup plan for emergency situations like weather living in northern Michigan, even though we feel like we are the masters of the cold and snow. It also gave me reassurance that I’ve been doing the right thing by making sure I have alternative sources of heat (in my case a kerosene heater), flashlights, extra dehydrated and canned food, that aforementioned emergency radio, backup batteries, and other items to weather the storm if a disaster would strike this area.

I guess one takeaway from this situation in Texas for Michigan residents isn’t to gloat about how we are better prepared than another state, but to recognize that even if we think nothing is going to happen, it could happen, and it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. 

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