The snow just kept coming down, a never ending stream of icy death. Everyone expected this storm to be bad, that it was going to drop a few inches of snow and lower the temperature to near -40 degrees. What no one anticipated though was that these conditions would persist for weeks.
After the first few days Mike knew something just wasn’t right. The weather people continued to forecast the front to blow through but it just sat over the entire region, somehow immobile and relentless in its snowy devastation. Each day he shoveled another 8″ of snow and was running out of places to stack it.
Day after day the stores were running out of more and more food staples. First to go was the fruits and vegetables. Due to issues shipping in the cold they spoiled or became so frosted they were inedible. That was followed by milk and eggs, frozen during delivery they would eventually thaw but as time went by their shipments ended entirely. Finally the breads and grains stopped, the emergency grain stores used up and an insufficient supply coming in from imports meant massive shortages and regional shipping issues.
During this time period Mike made more and more visits to local food stores buying anything edible that he could get his hands on. With 5 mouths to feed at home it was important that he have enough to keep his family healthy. Fortunately earlier that year he started to prepare for random family emergencies. Everything from a broken down car to a simple natural disaster. The kind of preparedness you can read about on the FEMA or other preparedness websites.
He wasn’t what you’d consider a full fledged prepper, the kind the media had been needlessly lambasting in the media as extremists. While some of them certainly were a bit over the top there isn’t anything wrong with being prepared. Mike had learned that in boy scouts when he was younger, he had just never really acted on it as an adult.
All that changed a few weeks ago as they were entering into the second week of this weather anomaly, that’s what they had been calling it in the news. The jet streams were coming in from multiple directions nullifying each other but bringing with them severe weather conditions that battered the entire midwest region.
Grocery stores were empty, gasoline was no where to be found, and people were getting desperate. Every day move people were losing power and being found dead due to exposure. The power lines covered in ice and snow were snapping and with no repair crews working people were being forced out of their homes. Many people attempted to find refuge in hotels only to find the either booked over capacity or closed due to similar disruptions.
Midway through the second week Mike felt comfortable with his supply of food. He had enough fire wood for maybe a day from some yard clearing he’d done a few summers ago but not enough to heat and cook with if the gas stopped glowing. Living in suburbia meant there wasn’t exactly cords of firewood for sale around town. He had asked around but it either wasn’t to be found or the cost was well out of his price range. His only hope was that the underground natural gas lines would continue to work if power went out.
While his modern fireplace was more for looks then every day use it would function as a simple heater allowing his family hunkered down around it. He wished he’d invested in a space heater sooner but when he was researching them in the spring his wife wasn’t keen on storing kerosine around the house with kids. Something tells me she might change her mind about that after they get through this.
His concerns about the power going out became a reality just into week three of the storm. With no power and The snow now up to his windows his family wasn’t able bodied to move to better accommodations so they decided to hunkered down. Having been prepared for this Mike checked the fireplaces and sure enough there was still gas flowing … for now. Relocating his family around the fireplace was fun at first actually. It brought them really close and given how scared the kids were it was comforting for everyone and took their minds off their other problems. Well everyone except Mike, he couldn’t stop planning contingencies and thinking about next steps.
Mike had devised a short term solution to their heating problem if the SHTF with the gas. Late at night and sometimes under the cover of the heavy snow fronts he snuck into nearby abandoned homes. He wasn’t there to steal anything of traditional value. He was instead there with a sledge hammer and hand saw looking for some combustible material.
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