With the 16" of snow that we just got and with the temps now hovering around 0 degrees every day here in Southampton, I must say I am very happy I grew up in Michigan!

I spoke to a friend today and she told me how she fared during the "Bomb Cyclone". She lives in Water Mill on the ocean so her situation was much, much worse than mine! However, we both had stories to tell that would make ones hair stand on end if you were there.

First of all, I want to share a list of things to do BEFORE a storm hits; these are also good things to just to be prepared for any emergency where you may not have power for a time:

  • Make sure you have cash in your pocket in order to pay for any help in the event you need it. I keep $100 at all times in case of emergency---$500 is ideal but $100 seems to be the very lowest to have on hand. 
  • It makes good sense to have an annual furnace check-up including your chimney. Most people do but occasionally I have heard of a homeowner who forgot to call to get the system checked and cleaned and they ran into trouble with the system shutting down at the wrong time.
  • Make sure you have a lot of fuel or that you have a direct line to a supply of gas so that you don't run out of fuel.
  • check out your battery supply along with any flashlights or radios you have--make sure they are not old and out of order--that the batteries are in their original packages so that you are certain they are new and NOT USED.
  • Buy a good supply of wood if you have a fireplace--make sure the wood is dry!
  • If you are lucky enough to have a generator, make sure you have a good venting system so that carbon monoxide will not build up and kill you.
  • Check to make sure you have ample matches and candles. All the candles and fireplace wood in the world won't matter if you have no way to light them!! If you have a box of matches that you haven't used lately, make sure they still light or buy a couple of lighters just to have an alternative to matches if you run out or if they don't light.
  • Park your car in a position so that you can drive straight out of your driveway and not have to back up in a drift to get out.
  • Check to make sure your snow shovel is still where you stored it--make sure no one confiscated it when they were doing some other work for you. (My movers took my snow shovel and big broom, probably certain I would never miss them!!).
  • If you have a house with many rooms make sure those rooms have heat if they have bathrooms and then close the doors tightly so they don't pull more warmth than you want to take away from the room/rooms where you will be spending your time during a storm or blizzard
  • Set your thermostat at a higher temp than normal--say 70 degrees at night and 73 degrees during the day. Believe it or not, this will keep your fuel from being  wasted as the furnace will not have to turn on and off as much as it would at a lower temp. Thermostats will instruct the furnace to come on as the lower temp is reached and it will never have a chance to wait any length of time between turning on and off---especially if you have an older furnace. This gives a chance for a furnace malfunction if it is overworked
  • Make a list of things you will need, including food, in the event you do lose power for several days.
  • Have hats, sweaters, sweats, socks and gloves nearby. That goes for quilts that are thermal in nature and/or sleeping bags that are made to counteract the cold. You can use these on your bed for added warmth if your power goes off.
  • Make sure to have snow boots in the event you must leave in a hurry. There is always a chance you may have a fire in the low temps especially if your furnace is older and if there is a creasote built up in your chimney. Creasote will catch fire easily with a roaring fire and that will start a major fire!

I had to leave my house right after the power went out because I had matches but they were old and I didn't check to see if they still worked. Out of luck!!

I was dressed in my outdoors clothing in a flash and got in my front-facing car and drove over the  drifts quickly. I got stuck in the drift at the head of my driveway where the snow plows had already dumped 3 feet of snow! 

My missing snow shovel was on my mind as I sat there rocking back and forth careful not to get too deep in a rut. Finally a neighbor drove by and stopped--he had a snow shovel and he got the drift low enough for me to get out and off I went. I forgot to get cash earlier so I couldn't pay the neighbor for digging me out--I owe him big time!!

Now, the gas stations were all closed as were the smaller stores that I frequent. Nothing was open!! I finally made it to Stop and Shop and blessed the 3 men who were there, working with minimal lights  but I found a snow shovel, dry matches and a lighter in case anything should happen to my matches!

I was back in the house with my frightened dog in no time. I got a fire blazing and the house was warmer than it was with the furnace heating it!

My friend, Lynda from water Mill told me a totally different story: She had no heat for a full day--no dog fortunately but she almost froze to death with out power. She had layers of clothing on, sweaters, sweats, socks and gloves with socks over those.

She told me of the fear she had that she was not going to make it. She found herself waking herself up so she would not fall asleep--thinking that the end would come very quickly if she did fall asleep. Her state of mind was one of utter panic as she fought off the urge to sleep and as she tried to keep warm. 

I had a plan in place for all of the things I would need and the things I had to do and I handled the stressful moments easily once I knew I was going to be OK.

Lynda tells me her furnace guy will be there first thing in the morning....we have another snow storm coming tonight!



                                     **ALL INFORMATION AND CONTENT IN THIS BLOG IS ORIGINAL TO PAULA I. HATHAWAY.  The views expressed herein are my personal views and do not reflect the views of Douglas Elliman Real Estate


Paula I. Hathaway, Senior Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Southamtpon Village Real Estate Specialist since 1995;  Also Specializes in North Sea, Noyac, Water Mill and Bridgehampton, New York

Diamond , Gold and Chairman's Circle Awards; Top Producer since 2005


Click here to see my Hampton's website to see all my listings; please email me or call me for all your real estate needs in Southampton, Bridgehampton and Watermill:



Comment balloon 7 commentsPaula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA • January 07 2018 11:02PM


Hi Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, Sr. LBA, 

Take care down there.

Sounds like conditions are rough.


Posted by Brad Thomsen, Real Estate Services (Big Bear Realty) over 1 year ago

Hi Brad--Yes they are and we are getting sleet right now--lots of freezing on the roads too. Thanks  for your concern!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, Sr. LBA, - Having to grow up in Chicago and surviving more than one fire, these are all very important tips. It's too easy to become complacent or to think, this would never happen to me....

Be safe! Ice is not nice unless it's in a cube inside a beverage glass or you're skating and having fun. Bundle up and stay warm too.  

Posted by Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) over 1 year ago

The images of the "bomb cyclone" were pretty horrific.  I live in Sacramento, where we rarely if ever get snow, so I survived it pretty well.

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) over 1 year ago

Hi Mryl,

You are so funny! I do hope you are no where near the mud slides though---talk about a "Bomb". Thanks for reading and commenting.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

I survived; the first time I’ve ever heard of that term was this year. Very unique thing.

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) about 1 year ago

Yes and it was really a bomb! I think we have had worse storms--I think they all sit in a room thinking up words that will scare the begeezus out of us just to get us to react and stay home!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 1 year ago