A little ice and a lot of wind is the perfect recipe for power outages. Care to take a guess as to what's in the latest Winter Weather Advisory? Power outages can get expensive quick if you lose all the food in your refrigerator, let alone a freezer full of meat. Here are 3 Easy steps to avoid the financial disaster and the smelly consequences.

As always pre-planning is the hardest part, but it's easy too.

  • Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers prior to a storm. Make them small enough to fit around the food and don't overfill.
  • Put some of your refrigerated items into the freezer now. Foods you won't need right now, leftovers, fresh meat, and poultry.
  • Use the "igloo effect," group foods together in the freezer.

The goal is to keep the refrigerator at 40°F or lower, while the freezer should stay near. Unfortunately, you never know how long the power will be down, but after 4 hours you'll need some coolers with dry or block ice. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).

The USDA has more tips on keeping the food in your refrigerator and freezer safe during a power outage.