Winter Weather Preparedness
Heavy snowfall, ice and extreme cold can quickly immobilize an entire region. The result can range from isolation due to power outages and blocked roads to the havoc caused by improperly equipped vehicles trying to maneuver on ice and snow covered roads. Your family should be prepared to protect themselves from the many hazards of winter weather – blizzards, heavy snow, freezing rain and sleet.
Before Winter Weather Strikes
Know the terms used to forecast winter weather conditions:
- A Winter Weather Advisory is issued when enough ice and snow are expected to hinder travel but the anticipated conditions are not serious enough to require warnings.
- Freezing Rain is forecast when expected rain is likely to freeze when it strikes the ground creating a coating of ice on roads and walkways.
- Sleet consists of small particles of ice mixed with rain. Sleet accumulation causes roads to freeze over or become slippery.
- A Winter Storm Watch means that severe winter weather is possible. A Winter Storm Warning means that heavy snow, sleet or freezing rain is expected.
- A Blizzard Warning means that heavy snow and winds of 35 miles per hour or more are expected. A Severe Blizzard Warning means that very heavy snow is expected with winds over 45 miles per hour and temperatures below 10 degrees. Visibility can be so poor that you will not be able to see for more than a few yards.
Be prepared before a winter storm occurs:
- Develop an Emergency Plan
- Maintain a Disaster Supplies Kit.
- Make sure that you have sufficient heating fuel; regular supplies may be curtailed by storm conditions.
- Have emergency heating equipment (a kerosene heater, a gas fireplace or wood burning stove or fireplace) and fuel available so you can keep at least one room of your house warm enough to be livable. If your furnace is controlled by a thermostat and your electricity is interrupted by a storm, you will need emergency heat.
- If you have a fireplace, store a good supply of dry seasoned firewood.
- Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure your family knows how to use them.
- Keep your car winterized and carry a winter car kit. A winter car kit includes: a high quality windshield scraper, flashlight, tow chain or rope, shovel, tire chains, a blanket, a bag of sand or salt and emergency flares.
During a Winter Storm
- Listen to the radio or television for updates on the weather condition. With early warning you may avoid being caught in a storm or be better prepared.
- Dress for the season, many layers of thin clothing are warmer than single layers or thick clothing.
- Over-exertion can bring on a heart attack, which is a major cause of death during and after winter storms. If shoveling snow isn’t critical, don’t do it. If you must shovel snow, don’t over exert yourself.
- Monitor County Travel Advisory Map