The highlight of my week this week was the fact that I traveled by plane to field a cover story for Independent Processor for the first time in more than a year. The bad news was that I flew to Wisconsin, and the temperature didn’t go above 0 degrees the entire time I was there. Then I drove to Chicago, just in time for a storm that dropped 18 inches of fresh snow on top of an already-snow-covered city. (See above for the state of my poor rental car the morning I flew home.) Remind me to look for story ideas in Key West next winter.

The one thing working in my favor was that I was in an area that knows how to handle snow and extreme cold. The snow plows and salt trucks made sure the main roads and expressways were drivable, and the cities were prepared to handle the weather and keep the heat and electricity going.

Contrast that to the situation in Texas and elsewhere in the country. Winter blizzards have disrupted business in many states. Even Nebraska, which deals with severe winter weather on a regular basis, has had rolling blackouts. Texas, though, has suffered the worst this year. Part of it is the fact that the state is dealing with once-in-a-century cold blast, and the state’s power grid was never designed for the constant low temperatures and ice.

Here’s the thing, though. Whether you believe in climate change or not, we’re seeing these “storm of the century” events happening on a semi-regular basis now. Regardless of where your business is located, you can expect to see record heat, record cold, tornadoes or floods… maybe even locusts while we’re at it. This is a good time to prepare your business for any situation. Make sure you have generators if you need them to keep your perishable product safe. Double check your insurance policies so that you are covered for any situation, and consult with an expert to see if you should add anything. Can your building withstand 100 and -20 degree temperatures, and can the roof take a couple feet of snow?

Obviously, there will be things beyond your control… if your state’s power grid goes down, you’re out of luck. But you can prepare for the worst case scenarios now to minimize your loss for the next unexpected weather event.

Sam Gazdziak