Winter (Storm) Is Coming; There’s More to Get Than Just Milk, Eggs, and Bread

A man wearing a mask walks through a mid-afternoon snow squall in downtown Pittsburgh on Nov. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

By Patrick Abdalla

December 15, 2020

The storm could bring 2 to 18 inches of snow, depending on where in the state you live.

The first big storm of the winter is expected to come on Wednesday.

The storm could leave Pennsylvanians snowed in, depending on where in the state they live.

Meteorologist Amanda Wagner, with the National Weather Service in State College, said the south central part of the state could get the brunt of the storm. How it affects the rest of the state is still up in the air. The main band of snow could move north or east, which would impact how much drops on other parts of the state.

“Local amounts could be over a foot in the lower Susquehanna Valley,” Wagner said.

However, she said, Pennsylvanians should expect snow to fall everywhere from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, and Scranton, as well. Those places will probably get less than what the south central part of the state gets.

She said the storm is mostly going to be snow, but the heavy, wet snow could fall fast.

“Wednesday morning, we could see snowfall rates of 2-3 inches an hour,” Wagner said.

Snowstorms like this usually mean people pack into their local grocery stores to fill their carts with milk, eggs, and bread. But there are other things people should buy when a storm is heading their way.

Here are some ideas:

More Than Milk, Eggs, and Bread

If you’re going to be snowed in for a few days, have some items that can be turned into quick meals. 

While everyone grabs the winter trinity at the store, be sure to grab some other food items, such as:

  • Fruits that don’t need to be refrigerated (think apples, pears, oranges) 
  • Vegetables for making soups (onions, celery, carrots, potatoes, peppers)
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Maple syrup
  • Pre-packaged tuna salad or chicken salad
  • Your favorite broth
  • Pierogies
  • Pre-made soups

You wouldn’t want to make French toast (with your milk, eggs, and bread), and then end up without syrup. 

If your power goes out, you can still have lunch if you have peanut butter and jelly on hand. None of the ingredients for the lunchbox classic require refrigeration.

And you don’t need heat or electricity to rip open a packet of pre-made tuna salad and spread it on some bread or crackers.

If you have heat, you can make some classic Pennsylvania foods. Many grocery stores in Pennsylvania carry locally made pierogies. You can also grab Italian wedding soup. 

You can also make your own soup, so be sure to have broth, some vegetables, a starch and some meats. You could try to make a Pennsylvania Dutch classic, chicken pot pie.

Chili is another popular warm dish. Grab some peppers, an onion or two, some beans and meat and get to work.

Another warm winter dish is shepherd’s pie. You’ll need some type of ground meat, potatoes, corn, carrots, onions, and various spices. 

Fun With the Kids

If you have kids, you might also want to pick up:

  • Raisins
  • Marshmallows
  • Assorted food colorings and flavorings
  • Sprinkles and other ice cream toppings

If the power goes out, you can still make apple-peanut butter mouths. Slice up some apples and slather some peanut butter on one side of each slice. Arrange mini marshmallows on half of the slices, and then top with the other half of the slices.

Apple mouths. (Shutterstock Photo/Maria Dryfhout)

If you have power and you can use your refrigerator to store celery, you can make the classic Ants on a Log. Slather some peanut butter onto a celery stalk, and plop some raisins on top.

You can also try making ice cream out of snow. (That’s where the food colorings and flavorings come in.) There are several different recipes out there that call for only snow and a handful of other ingredients. And for the Tim Taylors across PA, there’s this recipe from Lowe’s that involves ice, ice melt, a 5-gallon bucket, and some power tools.

Warm Drinks and Adult Beverages

You’ll need some things to drink, so you might want to pick up:

  • Your favorite hot cocoa mix, Nesquik, or Hershey’s syrup
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Whiskey
  • Honey
  • Whipped cream

You can’t go wrong with some hot cocoa after shoveling the snow or playing outside. 

Cold mornings can also call for some warm tea. Add some honey to sooth your throat. Pennsylvania has some local tea companies if you want to support a local business.

Many locally-owned coffee shops also sell bags of their own beans. 

If you’re looking for a nightcap, warm up some apple cider and splash some Fireball whiskey in it for a wintry cinnamon-apple mix.

Another option is a hot toddy, which is a whiskey and tea drink. Some people add a cinnamon stick for extra flavor.

Hot toddy. (Shutterstock Photo/Brent Hofacker)

Emergency Essentials

Snow days aren’t all fun. Big storms can lead to power outages, so be prepared for those by picking up:

  • Batteries
  • Flashlights
  • Matches
  • Candles
  • Battery-powered radio
  • 1 gallon of water per person per day
  • Diapers and wipes if you have children who still wear diapers
  • Soap
  • Bandages
  • Rock salt or sand

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency has an extensive list of items you should have for an emergency.

If you lose power, be sure to close off all unused rooms, and place a towel or rag at the bottom of the door to keep heat from escaping.

If you are going to use candles for light, make sure you’re following safe practices. Make sure any candle is on a steady surface and not to leave lit candles unattended. 

Snow and Cold Maintenance

Be sure to have an appropriate shovel for your abilities. Snow shoveling can lead to injuries and even heart attacks. 

Prepare your car for the storm by taking a quick trip to your local gas station to fill the tank with gas and the tires with air. Pick up some rock salt or sand while you’re out.

When you get home, cover each rearview mirror with an empty grocery bag and tie it shut to keep snow and ice off the mirrors.

Keep you wiper blades from sticking by pointing them upwards, away from your windshield before the snowstorm arrives. Then, after you clean off your windshield, snap them back into place.

A man lifts his windshield wipers away from his windshield. (Shutterstock Photo/Tanya_Terekhina)

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