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How to prepare for a winter storm in NYC

Everything you need to know to stay prepared

Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images

For the most part, this winter has been a fairly mild one, but that’s about to change: the National Weather Service is predicting that a massive blizzard, named Winter Storm Stella, will pummel the five boroughs with as much as two feet of snow.

While it may be true that weather is unpredictable, it’s still a good idea to take these warnings seriously, and to make sure you are well prepared in case conditions take a turn for the worse—especially in a New York City apartment, where issues with heat, gas, and electricity could all rear their ugly heads. Here are some things to keep in mind as you’re battening down the hatches for this week’s weather event.

Make sure you’re well-stocked.

There’s a good reason why everyone rushes to the supermarket when a storm warning is issued: being trapped in the house with no food sucks. Make sure you have enough to get you through a few days—per the Red Cross, that means a three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) along with a three-day supply of non-perishable foods (and don’t forget about food for your pets). It’s also good to make sure you have several flashlights, working batteries, and a charger or spare batteries for your phone and other electronic devices. It may not be a bad idea to have a few candles and matches/lighters on hand either.

Check your meds.

If you are on medication, the last thing you want is to run out and not have access to your local pharmacy. If possible, try to keep a seven-day supply at your disposal. In the event that you do run out of medication, having an emergency contact who may be able to help out could be vital to your well-being. If things really get bad, do not hesitate to call 911.

Know what to do in the event of a power outage.

If your power goes out, make sure you know who to call—which is why having those charged electronic devices are important. If you live in a building, have the number to your superintendent on hand. Having the phone numbers to your energy and gas company, whether it be Con Edison (1-800-75-CONED), National Grid, or whoever else is also a must. The same goes for if you lose heat—and remember, your landlord is required to provide heat. If yours isn’t working, don’t be afraid to put the pressure on them.

Be a good neighbor.

You’re not required to shovel the sidewalk in front of your building, but if you live in a place without a super on-site—and you’re physically capable—it’s a nice thing to do. And take note to help your elderly neighbors, or those with mobility issues. Offer to shovel in front of their property or bring them any important items they might need if they can’t do it themselves.

Stay alert.

Be sure to keep up with the news for up-to-date information, and follow instructions when it comes to things like evacuating (in the event of a flood) or staying off the roads. Knowing what’s happening with public transportation, flights, and road conditions is key to guiding you in making the safest decisions possible.

For more ways on how to stay safe during a winter storm, check out tips from the Red Cross and the New York Police Department.