If this is accurate http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/uk-weather-emergency-services-high-2592128 then I’d better look to my emergency kit and charge every conceivable battery between now and Monday.
I have a two-mantle gas lantern, two camping stoves, and gas for both, plus a seriously warm sleeping bag, and a head-torch, all relics of my backpacking days. The flats here are all electric, so and vulnerable to power cuts, and that would also take out the communal central heating pumps.
If the electricity stays, but the gas goes down (unlikely, but still), that also means no heat, which is the least of my worries as I have ample thermals and fleeces.
A potential problem is my profiling bed, so I’d better set it in a useable, even if not perfect, position on Sunday afternoon, and leave it there, which basically means I’ll be going back to sleeping sitting upright,
In fact, I’d do better staying out of the bedroom in the absence of heat, as the room is a fridge, and consolidate my position in the living room, which is adjacent to the kitchen and the bathroom.
This area survived relatively unscathed in 1987 (Hurricane? What hurricane” – Copyright – M. Fish!), with the main damage being trees blowing down onto buildings and cars – one tree cut the local bank clean in two. In the middle of the night, luckily. For suburbia, this is a heavily wooded area (thank the Victorians in the main), and the capacity for arboreal havoc is pretty high – I’m always surprised after a serious blow, which used to be pretty common,** that the damage isn’t far worse.
**We have a whole generation with no experience of big winds or even extremely cold weather. In 1986, coming home from the Peak District after a weekend in the snow, I decided to take the Cat and Fiddle route, descending from the pub the inside of the car – with the heat on full blast, slowly became sheathed in ice, and the hot air died away as the engine’s temperature gauge headed for zero, and would happily have gone zooming past the pin.
On the outskirts of Macclesfield I had to pull over and stop as, with the ice on every square inch of the interior, including the glass, and road crap and more ice all over the glass outside, I couldn’t see a damned thing. Nor could I clean the windscreen as I thought the washer nozzles had frozen.
Got out, popped the bonnet – leaving the engine running – I found that not only were the nozzles frozen, but the tubing and the reservoir were rock-solid – and the reservoir was tucked between the cylinder block and the scuttle, where it should have got all the warmth available, but it had done no good. I could even put my hand – and bear in mind the engine was running – on the cylinder head. It was barely warm. We has to sit there for over an hour until things thawed out enough to be able to drive safely, sitting in our own private rain-shower as the internal ice melted. And that, boys and girls, if you’re under 30, is the sort of extreme temperature you are very unlikely to have experienced in this country since then.
And back on topic:-
Annoyingly, I have just restocked my freezer, and an extended power cut will trash everything. I’m insured but that won’t feed me.
I have plenty of soup, canned beans, and bags of rice and, remember – anything canned is already cooked and, unless specifically instructed not to, can be eaten cold straight from the can if you don’t have the means to heat it. True, hot food is better, but cold food provides the same calories and nutrients as hot. In cities, where power lines are mostly underground, any problems are likely to be resolved quickly, but in more remote, rural, areas could take several days, or more.
Water might be problematic, though in 1987 it wasn’t so I’m probably being overly cautious, but I intend to store enough water for a day at least, as I have a huge number of drugs for which I need water – 63 tabs and caps a day. If you’re in a similar position, do ensure you have enough water – dry-swallowing drugs can be dangerous. As I said, water should be fine – electricity is the greatest risk.
I’m confident that, even in my parlous state, I can deal with this. A lot of people, however, especially the disabled, old and frail, and just generally knackered, might not be able to, especially if their power goes down and it turns cold so, if you can, keep an eye on your neighbours.
And in your own case, if you have no heat, just pile on clothes – multiple thin layers are warmer than one or two thick layers. And because of the high blood supply to the brain and the scalp, the body loses a third of its heat via the head, so wear a hat. A wool or fleece beanie for preference, but almost any hat is better than no hat at all. Baseball caps, though, are pretty rubbish and should be regarded as a last resort.
If you have pets that you keep outside (why?!), bring them in. The actual event is scheduled to take place Sunday night – Monday morning, so those of us in the West, at least, will wake to the aftermath. This might be chaotic, with no electricity and maybe no gas, and roads blocked or cars trashed by fallen trees, or you might be standing in bright, if windy, sunshine, wondering what all the fuss was about, but bear in mind that being prepared is far preferable to being taken by surprise.