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Winter Storms

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Winter Storms 401

Winter can bring weather such as snow, ice, freezing temperatures and windstorms. Being prepared for these types of emergencies can save lives!

Weather Terminology

Winter Storm Watch - A watch is used when forecasters believe it is likely that hazardous weather will occur, but are still unsure about its location and/or timing. A watch is issued to give people time to prepare
for the event.

Winter Storm Warning - A warning is used when forecasters believe that hazardous weather is imminent, or very likely to occur. A warning is used for conditions that would threaten lives or property.

TIP: Always tell someone where you are going, when you are leaving, your expected arrival time and the route you are taking when traveling.

During a Storm:

  • Eat regularly and drink ample fluids. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Dehydration can happen easily during freezing temperatures.
  • Listen to your NOAA weather radio or your local radio station for weather reports and emergency information.

If You Go Outside:

  • Wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Make sure the outer layer is water and wind-proof.
  • Wear mittens or gloves.
  • Wear a hat.
  • Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extremely cold air.
  • Avoid overexertion if possible. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack - a major cause of winter deaths. Stretch before any strenuous activity and take plenty of breaks.

After a Storm:

  • Check your home for any structural damage, or damage to utilities. If in doubt, ask a building inspector or call your utility company.
  • Replenish any items used.

Winter Preapredness Tips

  • Keep rock salt on hand to melt ice from walkways around your house.
  • Ensure that outside pets have adequate shelter from the elements. Check their water bowls often and keep them from freezing.
  • Make sure you have sufficient heating fuel or an alternate heat source in case the power goes out. Do not use portable gas heaters or charcoal grills for heating in closed areas.
  • Insulate your pipes to keep them from freezing.
  • Winterize your home by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
  • Have your vehicle winterized and use traction tires or carry tire chains. Don't let your gas tank fall below half full.
  • Carry a Car Kit with emergency equipment for your vehicle.
  • Carry a Go Kit with emergency equipment for you and your passengers.
  • Check battery-powered items in your emergency kits and make sure you have plenty of spare batteries.
  • If it is freezing outside, keep an inside faucet turned on to a steady drip to prevent pipes from freezing.
TIP: When packing clothing, it's preferable to include layers rather than one warm, heavy coat or jacket. It's also better to be prepared with polypropylene, wool, silk or other non- cotton fabrics. Cotton retains moisture and loses all insulating qualities when wet.

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