Google “bomb cyclone.” Always be aware of what you’re dealing with when a new-to-you type of weather threatens. From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: A bomb cyclone occurs when a weather system’s atmospheric pressure drops incredibly rapidly, causing it to quickly increase in strength and whipping up hurricane-level winds and often heavy snow over a broad area.
As horrific as Bomb Cyclone sounds, don’t bend yourself out of shape. Only wusses panic. Practically speaking, you can’t do much beyond what you’d normally do to prepare for a regular nor’easter. Despite hailing from California, you are a veteran of blizzards after living in New Jersey for four winters and even-snowier Massachusetts for three; you got this.
Take inventory of your supplies. As a seasoned winter storm person, you already know you have enough warm clothes, blankets, flashlights, snow shovels, and scrapers. You even own a battery-operated emergency radio, alternatively powered by a crank if you run out of batteries, which you won’t. You aren’t incompetent; you will buy more batteries well before Bomb Cyclone if your stash runs low. Make sure you have an adequate supply of bottled drinking water because your pipes will almost certainly burst if you lose electricity, especially during the ensuing Polar Vortex super-subzero temperatures. Don’t waste time surveying your always plentiful wine cache.
At least two days before the storm, stop by Home Depot and replenish your supply of Ice Melt or whatever equivalent product will keep people from slipping on your driveway and suing your pants off for causing their personal injury. That is the last thing you need after throwing out your back shoveling massive amounts of snow. Now is also the time to stock up on batteries, if needed.
Two days before the storm, shop for groceries. Go for broke and hit up both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s since you’re ahead of the crowds. Buy enough food to feed fifty percent more people than you actually have for three days, more than enough nourishment considering you also keep a pantry full of nonperishables and you’ve never been stormbound for greater than two consecutive days. Don’t forget the matches. You can cook on your gas stove if the power goes out, but only if you have the ability to light the burners.
The day before the storm, gas up all the cars, even the convertible that sits idle in the garage, hooked to a trickle charger. This sounds like an extreme measure, but you know having lived in New Jersey, just inland of where Superstorm Sandy crash-landed, that when all the nearby towns lose power for more than a few days, gas becomes scarce. Do all the laundry, run the dishwasher, charge your electronics. Take a long hot shower.
Look out the window. The mid-afternoon sun casts long shadows. The trees stand motionless, the proverbial calm before the storm hits the next morning. Congratulations! You are ready for Bomb Cyclone with time to spare! The rest is out of your control. Relax.
Second-guess yourself. Return to Whole Foods in a panic because you didn’t buy enough food. Circle the parking lot for fifteen minutes before slipping into a newly vacated spot. Filter through the bottleneck of humanity to finally gain entry. Wander up and down the aisles, wondering what you need; it doesn’t matter, the shelves are mostly depleted. As you pass the bread section, you pause. You bought enough bread yesterday, but there are only two loaves left in the entire store. Looking from left to right, you see an older lady with a cane, a harried mother with toddler twins in tow, and a business man in a rumpled suit, all homing in on the bread. Grab both loaves and put them in your basket.
Just kidding. Whatever you do, never go anywhere near a grocery store the day before a big storm. And if you must, definitely don’t act like a panicked jerk.