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People Hesitant to Make Winter Weather Preparations

With the threat of severe winter weather headed our way, now is the time to stock up the pantry, charge phone batteries, and plan for power outages.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - With the threat of severe winter weather headed our way, now is the time to stock up the pantry, charge phone batteries, and plan for power outages.

The aftermath of the Christmas Day storm can still be seen all over town. Drowned tree limbs and branches that snapped power lines. Preparing for another round of winter weather is the last thing shoppers at Home Depot are thinking about. Mike Roosa says most customers want to get ready for spring. "Most questions I've had has been on patio furniture. I've sold a couple patio chairs, a lot of wood and stuff like that."

But the forecast is calling for cold, winter weather, and layers of ice, reminiscent of the Christmas Day storm that left thousands of people in the dark for days. Roosa says people should buy what they need now. "The roads might not even be passable. That hurt a lot of people who didn't have generators. They couldn't even come get one when we had them, or flashlights. Make sure you at least have batteries for the flashlights you do have."

The shelves are stocked with generators and chainsaws, but so far, Rohn Muse says he doesn't want to have anything to do with winter storm preparations. "I'm ready for spring to come. I'm ready to put all this behind us."

Home Depot doesn't have very many heaters or piles of firewood because now is not the season for those items, and they don't carry snow melt this late in the season either.

Flowers and patio furniture is on display, making most people want to start growing their spring garden. Muse says just in case, he's bracing himself for the winter weather. "Making sure I have candles and flashlights, and a nice hot stove."

It's the same situation at gas stations and grocery stores. People really don't want to think about a winter storm. Helen Nugent is making sure to have the basics on hand just in case, but she's praying this storm isn't as bad as the last time. "I bought milk, eggs, and canned goods. Not a lot, but I can get by easily. "  Nugent didn't lose electricity during the Christmas Blizzard and isn't too worried about losing power this time either, but she says she'll stay at home, off the roads and dream of warmer weather. "I'm thinking about spring."

Gary Threatt waits in line at the gas station for other drivers to fuel up. He says he wants to avoid getting stuck on the road in a storm. "You have to be prepared." He says he knows how quickly the weather can change, and he's worried about heavy tree limbs coming down on power lines like last time. "That's a real big concern because it's a hazard. We're just trying to take precautions." That's why he says he's filling his tank, grabbing canned goods, and making sure to stock up on water now so he's not caught off guard.

Items recommended to have during an emergency

· Bottled Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day

· Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food

· Flashlight

· Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)

· Extra batteries

· First aid kit

· Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc.)

· Multi-purpose tool

· Sanitation and personal hygiene items

· Cell phone with car chargers

· Have at least half a tank of gas in your car

· Family and emergency contact information

· Extra cash (ATMs don’t work without power)

· Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)

· Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)

· Tools/supplies for securing your home

· Sand, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery

· Warm coats, gloves or mittens, hats, boots and extra blankets and warm clothing for all household members

· Ample alternate heating methods such as fireplaces or wood- or coal-burning stoves
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