Last week South Dakota battled through a layer of ice and a few inches of snow along with very high winds in the 60 mph range. Those three elements are usually a recipe for a power outage. Xcel Energy said people should always be prepared for the loss of power and we thought it would be a good idea to review the essential items they recommend for a winter weather preparedness kit.

Bottled water. Nothing gets you through like a good supply of H20. A couple of cases is a good idea to keep on hand.

Non-perishable food: You really have no idea how long it will take to get to the grocery store or the nearest drive-thru to open in an emergency. Stock up.

Manual can opener: Yeah, those cans of non-perishable foods will do you no good if you have an electric can-opener. Unless you're really skilled with an ax.

First aid kit: Even the most simple kit can be a life-saver.

Battery-powered radio: A good hand crank rechargeable is best but an inexpensive transistor radio is fine as long as you have enough batteries to last a few weeks. You'll stay informed of not only weather alerts but also breaking news.

Flashlights: When things go dark and bump in the night you're best friend can be a source of light. Also, consider a good old-fashioned kerosene lantern.

Generator: This is a pricey investment but is critical in case of long power outages. Remember that ice storm back in 2013? Generators were in high demand.

Portable power chargers: Also known as power banks, these inexpensive life-savers are well worth the money. It'll charge your cell phone several times over. But as I tell my kids, if it's not charged it defeats the purpose of owning one.

These are essential items for any home. Not only for winter but year-round.

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