Letter Re: Observations on the Recent Missouri Ice Storm

Mr. Rawles,
I live in Southwestern Missouri. Did you followed the ice storm that buried the Midwest? We got hit pretty hard. We get hit hard every four or five years. Which brings me to my point. I have never seen so many unprepared people in all my life.

After day two of the ice storm power was out (for a month in a lot of places like Springfield). There were no gas cans to be found at any store. Batteries, disposable propane bottles, flashlights, milk, and meat were missing from the shelves of every store. Even Wally World [Wal-Mart] was bare. Kerosene shot up to as much as six dollars a gallon just before the pumps went dry. And generators? Forget it. Blood sucking companies were trucking in generators in 18 wheelers then selling them in parking lots for outrageously inflated prices.

I work part time at a nation wide auto parts store so I got to see some ground level action. Folks were buying seven dollar flashlights just for the two D cell batteries in them. I watched a guy buy a twenty dollar torch kit just for the three dollar bottle of propane it came with. I know we’re not talking about TEOTWAWKI or WTSHTF. We’re just talking about a relatively short period of time without any utilities and day to day comforts.

It was business as usual at my place. We had plenty of food, warmth, and lights.

I have several ceiling mounted light fixtures in my house with 12 volt/75 watt bulbs in them. Two batteries in the garage power them. I used my fireplace for heat. I have Plenty of stored water. I keep lots of those disposable propane bottles around for my lantern and cook stoves. A gas stove and a gas hot water heater are a must. I would never own a home with an electric kitchen. A few number 10 cans of bulk food, a few MREs, and even some frozen meats and foods took care of our meals. My scanner and my Wife’s small palm sized TV kept us informed of the weather and police activity in our area.

We never missed work, we never missed any meals, we never missed a hot shower, and we never got cold. All because of a few simple things I did years ago. What I did wasn’t expensive, hard, or complicated. Any one can do it.

[Odds are that] in another four or five years we will be hit by another devastating ice storm. I hope that the folks around here have learned something. – Bob F. in Missouri