Survival Saturday: How-to Tips for Surviving a Blizzard

Snow fall in Stratfor, Connecticut

Knowing how to survive a blizzard or other winter tempest is a significant, (however ideally unused) piece of information everybody ought to know. There are numerous sorts of blizzards and each can be a fatal executioner. While it is men who are more likely to die in a winter storm—as can be found in these winter storm stats—the danger can affect everyone. Envision being snowed into your home or being stranded in a vehicle amid a snow storm.

Guest post by James Smith

Picture shows white-out conditions in a field with crops poking through accumlating snow.
Blizzards can cause whiteouts and extremely low visibility.

Would you know how to survive? Here are some tips that could help save your life.


Look for some type of shelter. Blowing winds can bring about the wind chill to lessen your core body temperature to hazardous levels. The danger of frostbite and hypothermia build each moment you are exposed to the frosty climate.

In the event you are wet, attempt to get dry. Lighting a little fire won’t just give warmth it will help dry your clothes.

Profuse snow can actually protect you from the wind and chilly temperatures. Burrowing a snow hole may actually save your life.

Stay hydrated, yet don’t eat snow. You have to melt snow before eating it. Your body should in any case warm the ice and liquefy it. In any case, assemble snow in some kind of vesicle and append it to your body for a moderate dissolving process. A container inside your jacket, yet not directly by the skin will speed the softening procedure.

In a Car or Truck

Never leave the vehicle. In the event you are stranded, the vehicle offers a type of security from overexposure to the cold. A solitary individual strolling through the snow is harder to locate than a stranded auto or truck.

canteen cup filled with compacted snow over a campfire
Eating snow will lower your core temperature. Either use body heat (not directly next to the body) or other means to melt the snow first to stay hydrated. Photo courtesy of forum user “Stitch.”

It is alright to run the auto for brief periods to give some warmth. Keep in mind to open the windows a little to allow the flow of outside air. Unsafe fumes from exhaust, including carbon monoxide, can develop rapidly in the cabin of the car. This is particularly true if the tailpipe is covered in the snow.

Keep moving. An auto offers some shelter for you to keep your blood streaming, however practice is an absolute necessity. Clap, applaud, stomp your feet, and move around anyway you can and as much as possible at least once every 60 minutes. In addition to keeping your body moving, keep your mind and soul from meandering too far into unhappiness. While possibly hazardous circumstances are not a period of joy, keeping yourself from adding anxiety will permit you to settle on more intelligent choices when required.

Make the vehicle visible for a rescue. Hang bits of bright fabric or plastic from the windows. In the event the snow has quit falling, open the hood of the auto as a sign of distress.

At Home

On the off chance the power goes out, utilize an alternative source of heat with extreme caution. Chimneys and lamp oil warmers can be perilous without appropriate ventilation. Keep youngsters a safe distance from any heat source.

Huddle in a small space for warmth and close off unnecessary rooms in the house. Ensure there are no air spills in the room. Keep daylight spilling into the windows during the day to take advantage of any solar heat. Then, block all windows around evening time to add a barrier to the elements.

Keep hydrated and nourished in the event that heat is out for an extended period. An unhealthy body will be more defenseless to the frosty than a sound one. Before the storm season, ensure your survival food has not expired and have a couple of alternatives in case you have to bug in for a longer period.

Do you have a survival tip for a winter tempest? Share it in the comment section.

James Smith is an avid prepper with a passion for self-protection at all levels. He loves to write about survival skills and techniques that can help us to survive in a teotwawki event. For more updates follow him on twitter @jamessmith1609.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (16)

  1. If you are in a car without broken windows, use your car for shelter. If there is any snow at all, it can be piled around and on top of the car for insulation as long as you leave a way for air to get into your engine and out the exhaust properly. It is smart to pack snow a few feet in front of the exhaust up to the under carriage across the length of the car and packed up tight around the perimeter all the way to the front of the motor, but behind the air-intake, leaving the underside of the trunk open for pass-through air to pull exhaust away. Then much of the heat from the motor and the cabin won’t just be blown away from the underside and the operating parts under won’t be effected or kill you. Orange 1″ flag tape that is used to stake out job sites is at any hardware store, cheap and can be attached in long streams from your antenna or anything at least a few feet off the ground. If you can hang multiple 10′ long pieces from trees 50′ around your car, that would be even better. Then, don’t be lazy, as long as you are not dehydrated and healthy, you can go weeks without food with moderate activity. Any more than your regular amount of sleep will burn more calories than just sitting awake. Look up a calorie chart, oversleeping will absolutely wear you out. Plus, while you are awake you can make sure you breath with your mouth closed and keep your appendages close to each other and your body to expel less moisture and heat. Use your shovel to move snow into different configurations at the morning and evening to let in light, block the wind or get attention for help. That would be a good time to use your pockets to turn snow into water. If you have an extra container, don’t let all the heat out of the car to urinate. As long as it is warm, you can use it in a bottle to warm up an isolated body part or be set on the dash to defrost the windows. Anything that takes up space that is not cold should left in the cabin. Even balloons will store a lot of heat for the night and will allow less heated air to get out every time you open the door.

    Your snow cave or handmade shelter could have many problems.

    1. Air intake closes up; you’re dead
    2. Too much air gets in with high winds; you’re dead
    3. You get an overheated space and snow makes you soaked; you’re dead
    4. It rains and you get soaked; your dead
    5. Days into it and it collapses on you while in a weakened condition; you’re dead
    6. Your supplies are ruined from exposure; you might die
    7. You can’t be found and you can’t hear or see help; you’re dead
    8. You get wounded, making and maintaining your shelter; you’re dead
    9. You get rabies from an animal, get ran over, get stepped on by a curious moose, get attacked by a predator; you’re dead
    10. You get sore, damp, dirty and sleep too much because of the darkness and start to lose your will to live; you want to be dead

    If you’re on a reality show or want to hide from the Gestapo, then build a well planned and well stocked shelter off the grid. Just don’t do it in a snow storm.

    1. @ Cold-Dead Fingers.

      I Total Agreement, But “Go One Step Farther”. “Militia” Pretending to BE Something, without A “CLUE” of knowing WHAT that Something IS…

    2. wouldn’t you like to be a pepper to.

      Stockpiling for doomsday might be a little crazy, but storing supplies in case of a disaster is another thing. I don’t see anything crazy in having a supply of necessities for emergencies. Think about Katrina. People were displaced for months. Some people are still displaced.

  2. I spent many years in law enforcement and military service. As is typical with such professions, I have developed a warped sense of humor.

    1. @ DaveW.

      If your talking about the SHEER Power Output of a A4W Nuclear Reactor. Which is is Rated at ~550Million Watts, you could Supply the Needs of a City with a Population base of ~1.4-Million. But YOU “Also Referred to 85-90 Aircraft’s and SLUMS. I was Responding to the SLUM Issue of the Statement.

  3. ….and with a pellet the size of a baseball, you can power an aircraft carrier for many years…. taking care of a city of over 6,000 people… 85-90 aircraft… and sufficient fuel and munitions to level a slum anywhere in the world.

    1. DaveW.

      The “Block Burner” 10-Ton Yield Mk.54 SADM, Special Atomic Demolition Munitions “Davy Crockett” can do the same! What’s your Point?

  4. That is true about the native Alaskans. They also add layered clothing, which a lot of people do not do properly. Still, a snow cave (which must be properly vented) protects from the wind, and loses heat a bit slower than a cold automobile made of metal. And as part of your winter survival kit in your car, you should have essentials like blankets, sleeping bag (military surplus “mummy” bags are great.

  5. clapping, stomping, and rubbing hands together can damage your hands and feet if they are extremely cold. Be careful. Pocket hand warmers can help keep your core temp up, either the mechanical ones that use fuel, or the chemical ones that come in sealed packets. These packets can provide warmth for up to 5 or 6 hours each. A couple of these next to your body, inside shirt, jacket, blanket, whatever you have, will help keep the temp of your vital organs up. They are small and easy to keep a dozen or so in the car. I have a box of 42 in each of my vehicles.

    1. @ Indiana Steve.

      You MIGHT “Laugh”, but Playtex Heat Pack are rated to 8-hours. Radiance makes a Stirling Steam Generator that produces about 60-watts of power. And ONLY uses a TABLESPOON of JP-8 AvGas, and will run for 24-hours ON IT…

    2. no laughing. I cldn’t find anything on them when I searched, but I just tried real quick. The warmers I buy are “Little Hotties” I get hand warmers that are rated for 8 hrs., and toe warmers small enough to shove in the toe of your boots, rated for 5 hrs. I probably have a couple hundred of each, but I work outdoors, and it’s cold here in the winter, so I use them. Barring no emergencies, I probably have a 10 yr. supply if it was just me. But my wife uses quite a few of them. She’s not a winter lover. I get them at Costco by the case.

  6. Keep an emergency kit in your car trunk. You need one kit for winter and one for summer. While both may contain like objects, they will also contain very different tools.

    A single candle can actually produce enough heat to aid in preventing freezing to death if you remain in a vehicle.

    A vehicle loses heat faster than an igloo.

    A sleeping bag can help preserve core body heat even when sitting around the home.

    If you leave your vehicle, leave a note on the steering wheel to let others know where to look for you.

    1. @ DaveW.

      On the “IGLOO” Question, it depend on what you Insulate it With. Typical American’s Associate an Igloo as a Mini Snow Cave/Hut with NO Inside Insulation. Inuit Eskimo’s Insulate their Igloo’s with Caribou Skins (Caribou Skin is the Best Natural Insulator in the World). At -50F a typical Uninsulated INSIDE Temperature will be ~36F, but by Insulating the Igloo with Caribou Skin. You can Actually Bring the Temperature UP TO a Tolerable ~50F to a Comfortable ~67F, depending on the Number of People Inside. And an Inside Firepit, even Higher. Or even use Mylar Sheeting/Blanket Instead…

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