Get your tech ready for this weekend's snowstorm

The first big snowstorm of the season is predicted to hit the eastern and northern parts of the US tomorrow. Technology can help you stay informed, and stay safe.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer

A huge snowstorm is getting ready to hit the eastern and northern parts of the US tomorrow, bringing with it the first big snowfall of the season. If you're in the firing line then here's how to get your tech ready for what Mother Nature throws at you.

And who knows, if all goes well you might be able to keep on working while those less prepared than you are get a day off to build snowmen and make snow angels!

Charge all your gadgets in advance

This is especially important if you live somewhere where the power is likely to go out. Also, remember to charge up any portable battery packs and rechargeable batteries that you might have (you might not need them, but they may help a neighbor out of a bind).

  • Keep everything on charge for as long as possible just in case the power goes out.
  • Cold weather seriously saps battery life, so if you're going to have to be out and about, your devices won't last as long as usual.
  • If the power starts browning out then it might be a good idea to move your chargers to a UPS (if you have one) in case they are damaged.
  • If you have a gas-powered generator, test it in advance of needing it, especially if it's filled with stale gas.

Blow the dust off your radio

The internet might go down, along with your phone lines, but the radio will still work. If you have one handy it might be a good idea to make sure that the batteries are fresh and that you know how to use it.

Keep an eye on the weather

Here are a selection of websites that will let you do just that. You might also want to link to a local weather station and news site.

And here are a couple of apps to help you stay informed:

Familiarize yourself with any kit you don't know how to use

Not sure how your portable battery pack, generator or new weather app works? The time to be figuring this out is now, not when you're hip-deep in snow and the lights are out!

Weatherproof your devices

If you have big, cumbersome weatherproof cases for your smartphones and tablets that you don't normally use, now is the time to put them on. Go on, no one will judge you!

If you don't have a custom case then a Ziploc bag is better than nothing. And if you have one of those little bags of silica gel that comes with all sorts of things, throw one of those into the bag with your device as it'll help absorb any water that makes its way into the bag.

Back up your data

Snow turns into water, so if you live somewhere which is liable to flooding then you might want to back up your data now just in case the worst happens and something happens to one - or more - of your devices.

An offsite or cloud backup is preferable, but if all you have is an external hard drive or USB key, then that will have to do (pop it into a waterproof bag to give it a fighting chance).

Check your car kit

Here's a quick checklist of things to consider if you have to hit the road:

  • Screenwash topped up
  • Make sure you have a charger for your portable devices
  • Throw a blanket and some snacks in the back (just in case)

Stay warm, stay safe! And if you have any tip, feel free to share them in the comments section below.

See also:

'Must-have' MacBook and MacBook Pro accessories (Sept 2015)

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