Confluence Chronicles – Where City & County Meet 12-28-09 |

Confluence Chronicles – Where City & County Meet 12-28-09

I have been reading about the Blizzard of ’49 and it isn’t pretty. In truth, it should have been called the Blizzards of ’49 because multiple storms over seven weeks are what really caused the trouble. And it could happen again. Would you be prepared for something even half as long in duration?

As I read about the blizzards, I couldn’t help but think of all the new subdivisions that have sprung up and how easily people could be caught unprepared. Even people living right in town can be waylaid if not prepared. Need groceries? You just pick them up on your way home from work. Prescription medicine? No big deal, you drive past your pharmacy every day.

But what if you couldn’t get out? Would you just expect to be rescued? Just the possibility of such a situation should make you want to be ready, it is winter after all.

If at all possible, keep at least a week’s worth of prescription medicine on hand.

Country people are used to having supplies on hand yet we can still become lackadaisical about it.

Buy a few gallons of bottled water even if you are on a water system. Something could fail with that. Stock up on non-perishable foods including powdered milk. Did you know your milk can be frozen in the plastic containers it comes in? After you let it thaw, you could have some to drink and use the powdered milk for cooking. Locate candles and matches, be sure flashlights have fresh batteries.

When you are planning, remember your pets and livestock, feed and medicine.

No one should have to risk his or her own life to save you from bad planning on your part. Workers would have enough to do dealing with true emergencies, if they could even respond at all.

In April 2000, we had a taste of a blizzard for three days. On our ranch we were without electricity for 10 days and we used our generator. My husband fixed it so we had electricity in the house, though we needed to be sparse with its use. Poles and trees snapped off throughout the Black Hills, as well as on the plains. Fortunately it was not cold, and the storm did not last long. But that should have been enough to remind us of what could happen.

Think deep when you make your list. Just contemplate being without electricity. A cell phone might work until the battery’s discharged. Cordless phones will not work. Is your only can opener an electric one? Do you require electricity to pump the gas that runs the generator?

Please take some time to prepare yourself and your family in the event of a storm. I know it is easy to put this off, but I hope you won’t.


Peggy writes from the ranch in southwestern S.D. She can be contacted at

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