Depending on one's point of view, the Hudson Valley is in for either a rough slog of snow shoveling and hibernating or a blast of fun sledding and snowshoeing.
The season's first major snowstorm is barreling toward the region, likely bringing more than a foot of snow, wind gusts topping 45 mph and frigid temperatures.
Friday's evening commute will be miserable, your kids can probably forget about school in the morning and you already can feel your back aching from all that shoveling you'll be doing.
But fear not, Hudson Valley: We have not only a list of ways you can survive the storm but a few tips on how to embrace the snowfall.
1. STOCK UP ON ESSENTIALS
By Friday afternoon, you'll want to stay snuggled up indoors. Buy your provisions for the storm in advance, including:
Bottles of distilled water
A transistor radio and some flashlights (in case the power goes out)
Candles and matches
Wood for the fireplace and sufficient heating fuel
Warm blankets and clothing
Toilet paper and other sundries
Canned soup, beans, cereal and other nonperishables
A six-pack or two of beer, wine or spirits (you might be inside awhile)
Also, be sure you fully charge your cellphones, computers, iPods and iPads.
In addition to your indoor essentials, someone eventually is going to have to head outside and shovel all that snow. You'll need:
A good shovel or other snow-removing equipment
Rock salt to melt ice on walkways
Sand to improve traction on the driveway
3. GET OUT THE COOKBOOK
It's likely that you won't be heading out to dinner, so you might crack that cookbook Aunt Mildred gave you 10 years ago and whip up a few meals. When you do your pre-storm food shopping, in addition to stocking up on canned goods, you might also pick up ingredients for homemade soups or stews. Here are three recipes for each:
You also might consider buying staples that can last at room temperature outside the fridge if the power goes out, such as: butter and margarine, hard and processed cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables, unopened pasteurized fruit juices, dried fruits, breads, cakes (except those filled with cream cheese, frosting or cream), open jars of vinegar-based salad dressings, jams, mustard, ketchup and peanut butter. With the temperature outside in the low 30s, your garage, porch or fire escape can double as a pantry to keep perishable items cool, too.
4. CHARADES, ANYONE?
With the kids out of school for the weekend (if not longer), have a plan for keeping them busy indoors that doesn't involve only electronics. Sure, there are the old standby board games such as Monopoly and Candyland, in addition to the game everyone loves to hate -- charades. But those activities will keep kids occupied for only so long. With Valentine's Day right around the corner, you might also consider making some do-it-yourself gifts for loved ones. Or if you're really feeling bogged down, you can spend the day planning a getaway somewhere warm.
5. DON'T FIGHT IT. ENJOY THE SNOW.
Grab your sled, skis, snowshoes or snowman-making kit and head outdoors. A garbage can lid or tray will always work in a pinch ... or just stick to making snow angels and pelting one another with snowballs. When the roads are cleared, head to one of six nearby ski destinations.