If there’s one thing (most) Southerners are terrified of, it’s winter. Three months of cold temperatures, bitter winds and questionable weather forecasts is no one’s idea of a good time. Gray and brown take over, as most flowers, plants and other vegetation have died or gone into their “hibernation.” Sometimes the sun doesn’t come out for a week; when it comes back, we’ve forgotten what it was.
And Heaven forbid it snows. What is snow, anyway?
After living in the Great White North, I’ve learned how to deal with winter and how to get through those long, gray days without losing my sanity. I’m no expert, but nine years (ugh) of experience in blizzards, subzero wind chills, icy roads and shoveling driveways has provided me with plenty of insights to share.
Here is my best advice on how to survive winter, straight from a misplaced Southerner.
Invest in a snow blower. My parents never had one for six of our years in Pennsylvania; our neighbors have one, and they graciously clear our driveway when snow strikes. But a few years ago, Mom broke down and bought one of our own. And you know what? We haven’t had a rough winter since. Omen? I’d like to think so.
Don’t buy cheap shovels. They break too easily. No one wants to hear that snap! in the middle of shoveling the driveway. It’s the worst. Shelling out for a sturdier shovel will be worth it later. Buy them early, too. The early bird gets the good shovel.
Don’t leave the house unless you absolutely have to. “I drive good in the snow,” said no Southerner ever. Cabin fever will eventually set in, and you’ll have to make a choice. For me, that choice is easy. As long as it’s cold and/or there’s snow on the ground, I’m staying inside.
Pull out all the thick, soft blankets and keep them within reach. Snow is much nicer when seen from inside, wrapped in a blanket, sipping on hot chocolate (or a Hot Toddy).
Stock up on the essentials well in advance (if possible). Sometimes icky winter weather strikes with little to no warning, and you may not have time to refill your supplies. If you do, though, bread, milk, eggs, peanut butter, soup and non-food items like batteries run out fast. May Publix be ever in your favor.
Check your flashlights and charge your electronics. Put fresh batteries in your flashlights and lanterns, and make sure your cell phones, tablets, etc. are fully charged. Power outages can happen, and they aren’t always resolved quickly. Be prepared.
And most importantly, be careful. I joke about snow and driving and cabin fever, but winter weather makes for treacherous driving and travel conditions. If you feel uneasy about being on the roads, by all means, stay in.
Remember, winter is short. Come March, the grass will be much greener on the other side…literally.
* This might be more applicable to our friends in Maryland and Virginia, where snow is a little more common.
Kate Robertson is a features writer for Pretty Southern, a Virginia Tech alumna, and a current graduate student at Elon University in North Carolina. She’s working toward her MA in Interactive Media, and afterwards hopes to further her career as a kick-ass writer.
Originally from Atlanta, Kate enjoys exploring the Piedmont region of North Carolina, especially its wide offerings of wineries. Follow her on Twitter @kate3robertson and check out her blog, A Thought and a Half.