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Forget the bread and toilet paper. Here's what you really need for the storm

With record-breaking cold forecast for Western New York Wednesday, there is sure to be a run on bread, beer and toilet paper ... not necessarily in that order.

[Complete coverage of the January 2019 blizzard]

But while the shelves are being emptied of eggs and milk, there are other overlooked items that should be on your storm preparedness shopping list, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Aside from food, you'll want to have lighting, heating and communication covered in case your heat or power go out.

Lighting. Yes, the cozy glow of candles almost makes a power outage feel worth it. But the CDC warns against them as a light source because of their fire risk. There are lots of battery-operated candles on the market, but a battery-operated lantern is more practical and will give off more light. And don't forget the old standby, flashlights. Grab batteries, too.

Communication. Grab a portable phone charger as backup should the power go out. Keep it charged ahead of time, then plug your depleted phone into it later. Otherwise, get batteries for your radio so you can at least hear the news. If you want to get really fancy, there are hand-crank, self-powered radios with built-in flashlights and phone chargers.

Heating. If your fireplace is up to code, grab a firestarter log and some firewood. A day in by the fire: another reason Western New York's severe weather is better than any other region's severe weather. Take that, Tampa.

If you pick up a space heater, be sure to follow all of the warnings and instructions on the box. Choose one that has an automatic shut-off switch and non-glowing elements. Since you might be using alternative heating sources, including your generator, pick up carbon monoxide and smoke detectors (both with fresh batteries) and a chemical fire extinguisher if you don't already have them.

Grocery items. Here's your shopping list: A non-electric can opener, prescription drugs, baby food, water, canned foods, a first-aid kit, ice melter, kitty litter (for traction), and food you don't have to cook, such as dried fruit, nut butters and crackers.

'Significant' snowstorm this week may be similar to Buffalo's 2014 blizzard



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