Always be charging: The frustrating part of a storm is not necessarily the snow itself, but the associated hassle: congested streets, frigid temperatures and, perhaps most of all, power outages. Before things get cold and heavy, it's a good idea to charge everything that can be charged. That includes old phones, which can be used to call 911 in a pinch.
Remember to also charge any battery packs, charging cases or anything else that you can plug in to extend your battery life. You'll be happy for the extra juice. And if you have to do work, stick to a laptop instead of a desktop, in case the power goes out mid-task and you lose everything.
A corollary to this tip is to do everything you can to extend your battery life. That could mean putting your phone in a power-saving mode, or just turning off things like Bluetooth and WiFi -- you're probably not using them anyway in a power outage.
Write down important phone numbers: If your phone battery does run out and you find yourself needing to use a (gasp!) landline, you may want to have a list important numbers written down. With a pencil and paper, I mean. (As a side note, for your general winter survival kit, the best trick I picked up as an intern reporter in Minnesota was this: pencils, unlike pens, don't freeze in the cold.)
This sounds like sort of a ridiculous tip, but the truth is that there are a lot of people out there who don't memorize numbers anymore -- or at least haven't memorized a new number in 15 years or so. Sadly, the phone number of your high school crush probably isn't going to help you in a snowstorm. The hotline for your car insurance company just may be more useful.
Remember that your phone is a flashlight: Okay, this one is pretty self-explanatory, but it's still good to remember. Nearly all smartphones can be used as flashlights without even having to download an extra app. On iPhones, you can access the flashlight app by sliding up from the bottom of your screen and selecting the flashlight icon. On Android devices, locations may vary, but you can probably find it in the quick-settings menu.
Don't be bored: While you have power, you should also think about the lighter side of life -- making sure that you'll be entertained. If the power's out, you can still pre-load your tablet with movies you want to watch or take the time to work through that podcast backlog. Even if you want to play board games all snowstorm long, you might want to try a dice-rolling app so that you can see what you roll and don't lose a die down a vent.
It's best if you don't use your phone for this, since you'll probably want to reserve that for calls in case of an emergency. But having no power doesn't have to mean time away from a glowing screen, unless that's what you want it to mean.
If you must get in your car, be prepared: The smart money during a storm and its aftermath is to stay inside as much as possible. But if you must leave, be sure that you're equipped with the right tools to get you out of trouble. One I'd recommend is an app called Winter Survival Kit. It's a great name, and the fact that it was developed by folks associated with North Dakota State University (i.e. people who really know how to deal with snow) makes it all the better.
While some of the more prairie-focused winter survival tips may not apply on the Beltway, the real strength of this app is its "I'm Stranded!" feature. It asks drivers to put in important phone numbers and insurance policy information beforehand, so that they will have that information on hand in case they get stranded on the side of the road. The app also has a useful feature that lets you calculate how long you can keep your car running based on your gas tank capacity and automatically reminds you to turn your car off occasionally to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
It also has tips for winter car maintenance and how to prepare a vehicle winter survival kit, as well as a handy guide to what to do if you do get stranded. Spoiler alert: Stay in your car if at all possible; it's warmer there.