The blizzard of 2013 may have a cute name -- Nemo -- but that doesn't mean it will do any less damage. For those in its path, it's important to prepare for the worst.
Nemo is expected to hit the East Coast hard and dump a significant amount of snow. That means people will be housebound and potentially without power while the mess is cleaned up. You'll need to be prepared to get through it.
Even if you aren't about to get hit by Nemo, severe weather happens every year, all over the country. Follow this checklist and you'll be prepared before the brunt of the storm hits:
Fill up your car. It's a good idea to keep some snacks, a blanket, and flares in your car in case you get stranded during the storm. But don't keep the motor running; it could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning if the snow blocks your exhaust.
Cut down on perishables. A big storm means it's likely the power will go out. You could be at risk of food poisoning from everything that's left in the fridge. Buy shelf-stable goods instead.
Stock up on alternative lights. Whether you prefer candles or battery-powered lights, make sure you have enough to last through the storm. Just be careful and don't place candles too close to flammable objects.
Stay warm. When the power goes, so does the heat. Get extra blankets and clothes to keep you warm and don't forget to eat enough (hunger can make you feel colder). Landlords may be required to fix your heating system in the event it stops working.
Keep the fire extinguisher handy. As mentioned above, alternative light and heat sources are great but they can also be fire hazards. Don't let the flames get out of control.
Get enough water. In some cases, loss of power means you also won't have fresh water. Purchase some water jugs, both for drinking and for flushing.
Charge your phone. The power is out and you need to call for help. But wait, your cell phone is flashing "low battery" and dies. Don't let that happen to you; charge your phone until the power goes out.
Stick together. It can be dangerous to be alone during a storm. No one can come to help you if you fall or have a medical emergency. If you live alone, consider having a prolonged sleepover with friends to keep an eye on one another.
Buy an extra shovel or two (or three). Once the snow stops falling, you need a way to get rid of it or face potential liability and fines. Get an extra shovel just in case your old one breaks.
Know your local shelter. Sometimes you just can't ride out the storm at home. If you run low on food or water or it gets too cold in your home, find another place to stay. This isn't a time to be proud. Spending the night in an emergency shelter could save your life.