Top Winter Power Outage Tips / Christmas Ice Storm 2013


Michigan Ice Storm 2013

It all started with my hubby saying, “We keep having good luck…”

When he said it, I knew we were in trouble.

There’s 2 things you should never say…

1. I haven’t been sick in a long time.

2. I’m really having good luck lately.

When I woke the morning after the storm, I heard the neighbor’s generators loud purr.

I glanced out our bedroom shutters, and what I saw took my breath away.

Every tree, every Christmas light, every inch of forest was covered in ice.

It looked magical, beautiful.

It didn’t occur to me that it may be dangerous until I grabbed my camera and went outside.

Our power had been out since 3am so my hubby was tending to our generator & fire,

but I wanted to capture the moment.

While snapping these photos, I witnessed a few limbs smashing into our pond from not the wind,

but the weight of the ice.

The limbs were tired, and heavy.

I knew we may be in trouble.

Our power outage lasted 5 days in below freezing temps.

Over 400,000 people were with out power.

ice storm 2013

Winter Ice Storm

Ice Storm Photos-Beautiful

I captured our cat, Sylvia, on my desk while I was taking the photos.

The sound of the generators scared her a bit and she didn’t act herself during the entire ordeal.


Our generator only worked certain things in the house at once.

We had no heat, or electricity.  We used our fireplace and space heaters to keep the house as comfortable as possible.

We didn’t want to leave the house because we were worried about our pipes freezing up.

I could see my breath in our living room, and my tooth paste was frozen.

Pizza came in handy.

I cooked it on our gas cooktop.

Click for Cook Top Grilled Pizza Recipe.”

Quick Pizza Dough Defrost

On Christmas I realized we could light up the kitchen with my “Vintage Christmas Sign“.

Good timing right?  By this time we were running out of tea lights & candles.

We used extension cords that reached to the generator.

We celebrated Christmas as best as we could.

Our girls were troopers, and the tree will stay up a little bit longer this year so we can enjoy it.

Unfortunately, the fish I got for our little Valerie for Christmas didn’t survive :(.

Christmas Vintage Sign by

Later we found out that our furnace wasn’t working and a breaker was bad.

This was some of the cause of our generator problems.

You can see Christmas gifts on the counter that I still need to put together.

Everything went on hold.

We are finally catching up now.

When the power goes out

This is what I wrote on Facebook right after the power went on:

“We had family and friends offer showers, food, charging stations, help and am extremely grateful to all of them.

We even had 1 friend offer to let us stay at her unrented apartment.

I must say though…this guy I’m hugging is my hero (my hubby, Rick).

He worked NON STOP keeping our family warm & safe. From filling/fixing the generator, to stoking the fire, to buying space heaters, to ordering wood, to calling the hotel, heck he even wore my yellow rubber gloves and did the dishes in freezing cold temps.

This man is AMAZINGLY SELFLESS and this redhead loves him.”

Julie & Rick winter 2013

Redhead’s Personal Top  Winter Power Outage Tips:

(These are general tips we used based on the design of our home.

You should use your own judgement on whether these will work in your home.)

~First and foremost…do not go outside, or let your children go outside.  Trees can fall, limbs can fall, or you can slip.

~Decide on a room where you will stay.  Preferably a room with a fireplace, especially if you do not have a generator.  Hang sheets in door ways to help keep heat in room.  Move furniture around to suit your needs.  We actually brought mattresses down and slept in our kitchen.

~Monitor food in fridge for temp, and use up what you have left over (ice cream goes first).  Keep frozen pizza dough on hand before a storm hits because it is perfect for gas top cooking. My recipe is here: “Grilled Cooktop Pizza“.  Place food in garage or patio until everything is back up (we live in the North).  Window sills work great for temporary cooling, or eggs.

~Move your meds to the warmest part of the house.

~Keep an eye on pets, sometimes they hide.  Fish need a warm location.

~Hang flash lights over stove.  You will be able to see what you are cooking so much better than by candle light.  Christmas lights work easily if you have access to a generator.  Our generator only allowed so much to be plugged in at once, so Christmas lights worked really well in our situation (lamps too).

~Use yellow rubber gloves to do dishes.  Spare your hands the freezing temps.

~ If you have a well, flush toilet with pond water/melted snow, or other water you have access to.  Use anti-bacterial wipes to wash hands if you don’t have water.

~ Sleeping together = warmth (including furry friends)

~ I always keep my tea pot full on my stove even though I use a Keurig for our tea.  You never know when you will need water.  Always good to have some on hand for emergencies.  That goes for batteries too.  Dollar stores sell really cheap batteries.

~Let friends & family know you are with out power.  It’s never a good idea to tackle it alone.

~Check status updates on the power outage with a cell phone.

~Check on your neighbors and make sure they are okay.

~ If you need weather updates, here is a great source we use (just punch in your zip code): WEATHER

~ One more, and it’s a good one.  A follower gave me this great tip & I had to share.  Stock up on the $1 store mini led lights they have for your garden.  They make excellent flashlights!

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12 Responses

  1. I’m sorry you had to go through that, but glad you are ok now. Also, nice job taking lemons and making lemonade – good tips to share with everyone!

  2. Tracey says:

    Glad to hear things are getting back to normal. I can’t .. No, I can, but not at Christmas.

    We were out for seven days one year ( rare in NC). No generator, no fireplace. Cooked out on the grill– a lot. Told hubby after ordeal that I would NEVER do that again!! I will, regardless of the balance, find the nearest hotel and charge it if need be. 😉 oh— and my kids were 14, and 10 at the time.

  3. Oh wow Julie, what an ordeal!! The photos do look so beautiful though. I’m glad to hear that everything went okay and no severe damage happened. I’m sure you’ll remember this Christmas for a long, long time!

  4. Melissa says:

    We went without electricity for 33 hours the first part of December and was stuck at home for 5 days. That is unusual for Arkansas this time of year.Thank goodness we had a wood stove and plenty of wood. We did exactly some of your suggestions like mattresses in the living room, cooking on gas grill outside, etc. We had also saved 2 liter bottles, gallon milk jugs and water jugs then filled them up the night before the electricity went out. It is always better to be prepared than caught off guard.

  5. Leena says:

    My gosh, Julie! I had no idea that you were without power for 5 days! While ice storms are beautiful, they are so dangerous and inconvenient! Your tips and experience will come in handy for many! I am glad that everyone was safe – your husband rocks! Take care, Merry Christmas and Hugs, Leena

  6. So sorry about your outage! The last 2 years, we went without powder for 2 weeks! My hair was never greasier!

  7. Girl! What an ordeal… so glad you guys managed and with a sense of humor 🙂 Gorgeous shots outside!!

  8. JoAnn Wickham says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience and tips. I live in Omaha, Nebraska. We had a terrible ice storm one year so bad that they cancelled Halloween. I taught 6th grade and wanted the children to remember this rare occasion. I had them all write about what they did. I them compiled them into a booklet to keep. We all were without power for over a week. It was fun to see how they fulfilled their time. It was amazing how it brought a lot of families together. Again, thank you for your story.

  9. Lori Stephenson says:

    Living just north of Atlanta…about to encounter an ice storm tonight! I am prepared..Originally from upstate NY! Loved reading your site and looking at your pictures. I hope I have some good ones to share tomorrow. We will probably be with out power here but we will be ready! Lots of camping gear!

  10. Lisa Murphy says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. We live in north Idaho and have had days without power during temperatures well below freezing. One thing I can tell you is that we always enjoy remembering getting through the “not so ordinary” times. This will be a Christmas you and your family will always remember!
    Sorry about your fish : (
    Thanks again for sharing!

  11. […] in the front living room because it gets very expensive, but it comes in handy when we get an ice storm which is often. I recently painted the brick white, and stained new shelves for the built […]

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