Well, I live in Davis County Utah and my power went off this morning in the 70 MPH winds. I am told it may be days before it is restored. The high winds continue and it isn't safe for the cherry pickers that the power company uses.
4 large trees down already. Three across my driveway right where I usually park my truck. For some unknown reason, I had parked it in my other driveway and no damage occurred. Which was good because I used that truck to come to work since my car was blocked in the garage by the fallen trees.
Well, Power back on and I learned some things.
1) Family went stir crazy when it got dark! In winter, it gets dark early. We had 5 hours with no TV or computer every night. The kids and wife thought they would die. We used board games and had a great time. We tried talking - that lasted about 5 minutes before it became yelling. Get board games! Also musical instruments that don't require power. We loved the guitar and harmonicas. Even got out my old accordion. Music helps a lot and fills the silence. I would recommend getting stuff to distract the family in long dark winter nights.
2) Buy and store hundreds of candles. They're cheap and don't require batteries and have no switches to confuse people and don't break when dropped and don't rust. Our flashlights were nice but lots had been moved and couldn't be found. Lots had dead batteries or had been dropped and broken. Candles are great and work every time! Get a thousand matches while you are at it.
3) Get a solar unit with rechargeable batteries but guess what! They only work when there is sun and they have been charged. Won't be much use during winter storms etc. And 70 MPH winds shred your solar panels. They can't be used in these situations.
4) Batteries need to be rotated and checked if you want to power up your i-pod and lap top. And they don't last all that long! Consider getting a set of speakers to plug in so that all can listen.
5) Heat is really, really, really important in the winter! It's not much fun living without it - even with all kinds of gloves hats and coats! My fireplace was worthless and I lost more heat than I gained with the fire. My downstairs gas insert kept the whole house at 65 degrees even without the fan working. It was great! My neighbors all froze to death while we were warm. And remember that water pipes can freeze without heat.
6) A warm meal or even hot chocolate goes a long way. Luckily we had hot water. I have a variety of stoves but the propane one I use camping was the best and easiest. Get 50 cans for storage. The charcoal in a big plastic garbage can was much, much better than my woodpile for my wood cooking stove.
7) Don't waste time and money on a giant generator. (Mine was stolen right at the beginning when I left it out front by my tent trailer.) All the neighbors agree - get a quiet Honda 2000 and just use it for stuff like heater or fridge. Don't need all the rest of the stuff. By the way, to run your regular heater requires lots of power. Use either a couple of electric heaters or have a fan on your gas insert downstairs. Have it downstairs and it will heat the upper floor also. I have a false floor register just above my downstairs gas stove and the heat rises through it and keeps the upstairs warm.
Stay inside in storms. I got whacked in the head by a flying plastic box and about got knocked out. I'm gonna have a nice forehead scar now.
9) I have the ward radio from our stake radio net. Guess what! It doesn't do any good unless everyone is on it at a set time. We need to set a policy of all being on at certain pre-arranged times for it to do any good.
10) Priesthood quorums and boy scouts are wonderful! They take care of lots of things and have lots of energy and keep the spirits up of everyone they help. Just checking on some people brought them to tears and they didn't feel alone. You can feel pretty alone with the power off and the wind howling and large things hitting into your house.
11) Windows are important. They all need blinds or covers to hold in heat. Lots is lost through them. I'm going to replace my old windows with the new fancy ones. Lots of broken windows in the neighborhood and lots of people had the whole frame and everything in it blow into the bedroom. Make sure they are well anchored!
12) Kids need to be watched constantly or they will leave the fridge open or open a window because they feel hot under their 4 blankets. They drop stuff and lose stuff.
13) I would rather die than not have my neighbors and loved ones around and safe. We had a few survival nuts who had their survival equipment out but did not participate in the neighborhood. Good riddance! They were worthless! It's not worth surviving without my friends. I'm going to double and triple all my supplies.
Well those are just a few thoughts.