Lessons Learned From An Ice Storm

United States
February 12, 2007 5:46pm CST
My husband and I drove 9 hours to visit our daughter. It was a beautiful early winter day, when we left West Virginia. It was still beautiful weather when We arrived in South Carolina. We had a nice visit for a couple day and began our journey home. The weather channel was calling for rain and freezing rain all the way up the east coast. No problem, we thought, we had good tires, plenty of time and we had our 72 hour kit in the back of the van. It rained on us from the time we left but by the time we hit North Carolina, the roads were ice. People were wrecking and conditions were terrible. Virginia was even worse, freezing rain mixed with snow and roads were ice. We stopped at every rest stop from the time we hit NC..the ice was freezing on the headlights and windshield till we could not see. I am not exagerating. We finally made it to West Virginia to find a total mess. The roads were closed. The news said taht the interstate was closed. We were on the interstate...barely moving. People were trapped miles from their homes in cars.There are not alot of services along the interstate in Virginia or West Virginia . Services were quickly unavailable. Power lines went down. Roads to pharmacies were impassible. Trucks could not make deliveries, therefore food store shelves went quickly bare, and heating oil tanks quickly went empty. Suddenly most people in West Virginia had no access to food, electricity, heat, or medical attention for a week. At this point, there was no traffic and it was scary. By the time we reached the county bordering our county, the power was off all over the city. Trees had so much ice on them that they had uprooted and fallen across the road. Not just a few but it was impassable. We followed an emergency vehicle that was cutting trees out of the road to get through. It was an hours drive home still and we were wondering if we were going to make it. It took us 5 1/2 hours to travel that last one hour drive. When we arrived home, we had no power,no phones and the cell phone towers were down also. Services were quickly unavailable. Power lines went down. Roads to pharmacies were impassible. Trucks could not make deliveries, therefore food store shelves went quickly bare, and heating oil tanks quickly went empty. Suddenly most people in West Virginia had no access to food, electricity, heat, or medical attention for a week. Power was off for 2 weeks. Schools were closed. At the end of the 2 week period, many of the roads were still impassable and many were still without power. We learned not to put our trust in the weather. We learned how important our 72 hour kit was to our survival. We were fully stocked but many traveling was not. The rest areas were full of people not knowing what to do. People were stranded along the side of the road everywhere.Here is directions a simple kit to carry in your car. It does not nearly have everything that you will need but it is better than having nothing. If you dont have a fully stocked kit, you may begin with this basic kit. This kit would make a great gift for others that you care about also.It just has the basics and we carry more than this but the kit will benefit you if you are trapped in a storm while on the road. This kit can be packed in a shoe box 2 Flares heat blanket water-proof candles or can of Sterno water-proof matches flashlight with extra batteries first-aid kit poncho aspirin corn nuts and beef jerky -bottle of water (16 oz.) emergency sign: NEED HELP CALL 911 (in red lettering) Fix-A-Flat tire sealer duct tape bungee cord or heavy rope ice scraper We learned to keep at least 1/2 tank of gas in car. We could not even get off the interstate. All the exits were pure ice. We always carry a wool blanket in our trunk. We had everything that we needed to stay warm and be comfortable in our kit. We were thankful that we had it with us. Emergencys are not planned. We think they will never happen to us. we think the storm will pass us over. We arrived home to a fully stocked food storage and oil lamps, coal heat stove and we were comfortable.. It was what we had to eat for the next 2 or so weeks. We cooked for others during this time also. We were lucky, we used coal to heat our home and to cook on in winter. Our home was the home of others for the next 2 weeks. We cooked for families who had no way to cook and delvered soups to others. I was thankful We truly learned how nature can ulter our lives quickly.
8 people like this
18 responses
@Stringbean (1273)
• United States
12 Feb 07
It sounds like a real nightmare. I am so glad that you made it through okay and that you were able to share with others. Thank you for sharing your survival kit list. That is one of those things that most of us "intend" to get together for our car and for our homes, but somehow just keep putting it off. Your experience should remind us that a serious need for such a kit may arise when we least expect it and goad us into action.
• United States
13 Feb 07
It really is important to have one in your car. One just never knows what will happen when traveling. Thanks for your comment
2 people like this
• United States
13 Feb 07
WOW! what an experience. :) Thank you for the info. I live in Texas and probably will never have THIS problem, but I do need an emergency kit in my car. I have nothing except an extra blanket in my trunk. I am so glad you are ok.
2 people like this
• United States
13 Feb 07
The weather has been changing over the last few years. We just never know what to expect, When we are traveling, is no time to be without things that we may need. One just never knows what will happen.
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
13 Feb 07
Praise the Lord you made it safely. Here in Michigan such weather conditions are common, at least one of these a year and we haven't had a big one yet although a few weeks ago there were many who lost power. I think the longest we have gone is 4-5 days but because it is common here we are also more prepared. Tonight we're predicted to get 4-8 inches of snow but it could just as easily be 8-12 or nothing - You never really know with Mother Nature.
• United States
13 Feb 07
It is so true that you just never can predict Mother Nature. One year, I went to all the local churches and taught a preparedness class and it got people in the mood to prepare. I just wonder if they acturally did it after they went home.
• United States
13 Feb 07
While we have a few of the things on your list in our car, we still need to add more. My husband is the type that believes that nothing will happen to us. I know all too well of how quickly the weather can change in the Northeast. We are going to visit our friends later this week. The storms have hit pretty bad that way. I plan on bringing a warm blanket with us, water and snack foods. I hope that we don't have to use them. But, it is better to be safe than sorry.
2 people like this
• United States
13 Feb 07
You are so right. Anything is better than nothing and you just never know. Please prepare before you leave on your trip.
@crazynurse (7489)
• United States
13 Feb 07
OH MY, what a nightmare. Okay, you have convinced me that I need to quit procrastinating and begin to gather supplies for an emergency kit. We get very little bad weather where I live and we are bad to just take to the road in the vehicle as it is...which is definitely not prepared for what you went through! Some of the items on your list I would have thought of (blankets, flares..) but many of them I would have never thought of! Thanks for such a complete list. I have written the items down and will prod hubby to help me amass them! I'm glad you made it through your nightmare okay. (It reminded me of that poor family out in california ...that was all over the news a while back)
2 people like this
• United States
13 Feb 07
I shared this story in hopes that it would encourage people to be better prepared. I am a firm believer in being prepared before tragety hits. I even own a group on gather called BE PREPARED.
@Bee1955 (3886)
• United States
13 Feb 07
Very nice Anne. What county are you in? I'm in Kanawha County, WV. We always have extras in our emergency kits in our van including a 25lb sack of non-clumping kitty litter, some large flat pieces of cardboard (for additional traction under wheels) and a snow or coal shovel. In our house we are stocked with extra canned foodstuffs and stacks of jugs and bottles of water. We Mountaineers know how to survive!
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Feb 07
I live in Webster County. We always get worse weather than you do in Charleston. One year we had a deep snow and really cold. The missionaries from our church had to go to Charleston for a meeting with other missionaries. They bundled up warm and had their boots on. When they got to Charleston the other missionaries laughed at them because you had no snow and the wind was not blowing or anything.
1 person likes this
• Canada
13 Feb 07
wow very bad
1 person likes this
@Bee1955 (3886)
• United States
13 Feb 07
I know Webster County real well. I have a disabled friend who is a teaching assistant at the high school. Since Charleston is in a valley with the Kanawha River running through it, we are lucky if we get any snow over 1 inch. Well, we all had the blizzard together this year. You guys in the more western mountainous areas of the state were really hit hardest while we got the ice, mostly afte the snow melted a little. My little village coaltown outside Charleston is still digging out. We were lucky tho, our power came on within a day.
@Debs_place (10525)
• United States
13 Feb 07
Wow, you sound like a real survivor, then you went into little house on the prarie mode. Good job! My last house used coal to heat it. It was the best source of heat one could ask for. And I used to cook on the top of it as well. A few years ago, we gave all the kids quillows for Christmas for their cars. They were handy for placing your head to sleep (not while driving) and for blankets if you were cold or stranded. I also stock up with refectors, a crank radio and flashlight, the chemical light sticks, (Kitty litter for traction if you get stuck). A few jugs of water, granola and candy bars. Heavy hats an mittens are good too. I never wear a hat and usually have gloves on, but mittens are warmer. My box is a bit bigger then yours, but worth the space.
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Feb 07
I also made quillow year before last for all my family members to carry in the car.
@kgwat70 (13396)
• United States
13 Feb 07
Hearing a story like yours definitely should make people be more aware of having an emergency kit in their cars at all times. That was quite an adventure you had through the rain and snow and ice. One can never know when something may happen where we might be stranded somewhere in bad weather conditions. I will definitely take a note of the items you listed and work on putting one together.
• United States
13 Feb 07
I am so glad that you are going to put together a kit. That is sole purpose that I posted this article. It broke my heart to see so many people stranded without anything to keep them safe.
@AmbiePam (50465)
• United States
19 Mar 07
This is going to be very helpful. And you have items I never would have thought of!
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Feb 07
I am so glad that you have the wisdom of survival. I also am glad that I don't have to deal with that weather, as I live in the desert. Thanks for posting it to people that do need to know these things. Blessings, M&M
1 person likes this
• Canada
14 Feb 07
Thats an awesome story , I can`t believe you made it home without one wreck yourselves . And Thank God you had the Survival Kit with you , no telling what would have happened . I don`t drive anymore , but I do remember when I did and those long trips in bad weather . It`s not fun . Glad to know your all right Thankx for warning everyone about the dangers of Winter driving .
@mbarryton (1872)
• United States
13 Feb 07
wow what a ride. thanks for sharing. your right no one knows what the weather is ever going to be like and you do need to be as prepared as possible because you never know what you might run into. thanks also for sharing the kit info too :)
• United States
13 Feb 07
Wow, Iam glad you guys made it ok. Thanks for all the details. Iam doing one of those emergency kits, you never know what can happen.
1 person likes this
@greengal (4286)
• United States
13 Feb 07
Gee, that was some experience huh! I often wondered why people up North complained of the snow and ice. I live in Texas and we hardly face such extreme weather. I should be really thankful for that. I saw on the news about the below zero temperatures. You are very well planned villageanne, great going! Thanks a ton for the basic kit idea, will keep it in mind for future. Nothing is certain, a perfectly good life can suddenly become a nightmare!
1 person likes this
@Willowlady (10666)
• United States
13 Feb 07
So glad you made it home and that you could help others. Yes having a life outside the box certainly comes in handy at times. Thanks for this list, it is something we thus far have not gotten. We travel 10 miles to town and if weather would hit we could easily need this. There are few places to stop in and rest so the roads could clear in time. Thanks for sharing this. Will copy and put in on my notepad and print it out for action!!
1 person likes this
@jeb083079 (840)
• Philippines
13 Feb 07
i think it was really a test from God of our faith and trust for Him. it's a good choice also that you've assisted some people who needed help. God bless you for what you did despite the huge obstacles.
• United States
13 Feb 07
Thanks so much for posting that wonderful kit! I don't know what it is with people but they never prepare for anything whether it be for a snowstorm,hurricane,or whatever and then moan and whine about the consequences.Keeping our families safe should be our priority and if it takes a little time to safeguard them then so be it.
1 person likes this
@lilaclady (28238)
• Australia
13 Feb 07
Gee I couldn't imagine being in such cols, you make me fee so weak as I tend to locj myself away even when it gets just a little cold, I am sure your info will be a lot of help to people...