The weather in Northern Illinois may be mild now, but we all know that the other shoe will drop and we'll be bracing for a major winter storm sooner rather than later.

Preparing for Winter in Illinois

If you've lived in Northern Illinois or the Midwest for some time, you know there are certain things you need to do to prepare for the cold and snow to come. Here are four of the most important things that need to be on your prepare-for-winter checklist:

  • Get the snowblower out and make sure it is gassed up and ready to go.
  • Find the ice scraper buried in your car's trunk.
  • Buy or find sidewalk salt so you're prepared instead of panicking when it sells out in the store.
  • Make sure there's an emergency kit in your car. This kit should include blankets, non-perishable food, water, a flashlight, and a first aid kit.

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Now that we have the "easy" winter preparations done, let's move on to some things you should always do BEFORE a major winter storm hits.

How to Prepare For a Major Winter Storm

Here are some important things to do before a major winter storm in Illinois according to the American Red Cross :

1. Stock up on supplies: Make sure you have enough food, bottled water, and other supplies to last for several days, including foods that don't need to be refrigerated or cooked in case the power goes out. It's also a good idea to have flashlights, batteries, and a portable phone charger in case of a power outage.

2. Prepare your home: Check the weather stripping and insulation around doors and windows to make sure they are in good condition. This will help keep the cold air out and the warm air in. Check to make sure the pipes located near exterior walls are insulated so they don't freeze. If you have a fireplace, make sure you have enough wood and that it's safe to use, aka, the chimney is free of debris and not clogged.

3. Have a plan for pets and livestock: If you have pets or livestock, make sure you have a plan in place for how you will care for them during the storm. This may include having extra food and water on hand, as well as a safe and warm place for them to stay. If you have pets that typically spend a lot of their day outside, but are able to come into your home, PLEASE bring them inside!

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.

Gallery Credit: KATELYN LEBOFF

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