The great urban wilderness - Yes you do need to prepare
I've lived in the, west - southwest portion of Ontario Canada my entire life. This area is one of the most densely populated portions of the entire country.
This aside we are also surrounded by the Great Lakes that are responsible for some of the wildest weather in Canada. Summer can bring severe heat, thunderstorms packing gale force winds, hail and of course Tornados. In the winter the lakes can turn into huge snow making machines that can literally dump several feet of snow inland from relentless squalls.
I have spent 24 hours stranded in my car in a snow filled ditch after a sudden squall took visibility down to less than 10 feet, 12 hours in my car at a dead stop on a major freeway after freezing rain caused multi car collisions that forced the highway closed.
Changes in the weather can happen quickly and more often than not, the severest of storms often pop up without much notice and can bring even EMS to a sliding stop. For these reasons you have to be prepared.
A couple of things I've learned from my experiences.
1). Stay with your car. Even being stranded in a familiar area, the squall was so severe I would have be become disoriented and would have perished. You don't Fool around with Mother Nature. Your car is SHELTER. Even if its cold its still SHELTER and if you are prepared it will become nothing more than an adventure you can share with friends over a couple of beers. Unprepared and I'll equipped, your friends will be talking about your untimely death over a couple of beers.
2). Keep your kit SIMPLE. Really, a BOWIE knife for chopping down trees, come on folks. Lets not let our imaginations run off with commonsense. You are trying to survive 24 hours, give or take, in a storm because you have become stranded, not a zombie apocalypse nor the Financial Collapse of North America.
So, with all of this in mind, here is my kit.
Extra clothing - Well I dress in layers for the weather so I don't require an extra suitcase full of clothes in the car. Remember KISS. Keep it Simple Stupid
Fuel - my tank is NEVER below 1/2 tank
2 - 8 hour tins of canned heat
1 - 36 hour emergency candle
1 - 6 pack of survival tea candles
2 sets of 8 hour hand and foot warmers
2 - thermal emergency blankets
1 - fleece blanket
2 - bic lighters
1 package of waterproof matches
2 emergency ponchos
2. - protein Bars
2 pkg. of peanut butter and crackers
1 - package of Jerky
6 pack of bottled water - mini water bottles
6 muffin tins for thawing or heating of water
4 tea bags
4 coffee filters - filtering melted snow if need be
Pkg. of gum
Remember I am not planning to survive until spring. Even this much might be a bit overboard.
4 - 12 hour RED glow sticks. Easy on the eyes for interior lighting at night, and good for an outside marker at night.
1 Mini battery operated LED flashlight
Hand crank combination, AM-FM Weatherband Radio, flashlight, cell phone charger
Small First Aid Kit with Imodium, gravol, Tylenol, Advil, throat lozenges
CPR Kit - if I'm stranded on a highway and some guy takes the big one, then yeah why not.
Empty 2 litre ice cream container
Some garbage bags for the above - just in case
Deck of Cards
Pen & small notebook
Kitty Litter -NON CLUMPING for traction
Assortment of Bungie Cords
30 feet of nylon rope
6000 lb tow rope
Can of Tire Repair Foam
Fox 40 Whistle
Gas Line de-icer
That's about it. I repeated this kit 3 x. one for my car, my wifes car and daughters car. The tools are stored in a separate tot Box from the rest of the items which allows me to grab the smaller tot easily in order to get inside the cars interior immediately.
None of this stuff takes up that much room, or is that complicated, which begs the question, why then are so many people unprepared?