It has been a while since I've experienced a power outage in winter, but I am rehearsing in my mind which precautions to take. I am keeping candles and matches at the ready. Since the water heater should continue to work, I will be able to make lukewarm tea to make up for the lack of a coffeemaker.
And I remember some years ago being without refrigeration. This is always a judgment call, depending on the insulation of the house and outside temperature.
- If the power is out for a day, the food inside a refrigerator will stay cold as long as no one holds the door open for any period of time. The food in the freezer will start to thaw a little. Looking at the ice cubes is a good way to gauge how rapidly the meat is thawing. Once it thaws, it will have to be eaten soon.
- After a few days, the food inside a refrigerator will start to spoil unless the temperature in the house is in the 30's, by which time you may have to evacuate.
I kept a second cooler of food in the garage and it kept my refrigerator contents at an adequate temperature for three days. Here, I was lucky. This location is more variable in terms of temperature fluctuations. Fortunately, I have a "gift" for knowing when milk is about to go bad 24 hours before it actually does.
Obviously, the bigger issue is staying warm. But I figure everyone writes about that, so I chose a less commonly addressed consideration.
The blizzard that is headed for Chicago as I write this is predicted to be the third worst blizzard in recorded history. And it may affect a third of the country. Stay warm out there, my friends.