Winter Weather Survival Guide

During the cold winter months, it is vital to be educated on the differences between watches and warnings in order to prepare yourself and your family to take the necessary actions to stay safe. Before any intense winter weather hits, it is important that you have a winter storm survival kit, and it should be kept in a secure place in case of an emergency. An emergency kit should contain anything from flashlights to bottled water, blankets, non-perishable goods, first air kid, water contained, road maps, flares, waterproof matches, and a shovel or windshield scraper.

Firstly, a winter storm watch is issued when wintry weather conditions are expected in the next 12 to 36 hours. The only way that meteorologists will announce this type of alert is when the snowfall is predicted to exceed six inches in 24 hours or less, and winds are anticipated to gust up to at least 35 mph with visibility less than a quarter of a mile. In order to stay safe during a winter storm situation, it is imperative that all necessary precautions are taken prior to the arrival of the system. Here are some lists below that will help make sure you are properly prepared for this winter season.

At Home/Work:
-Working Flashlight
-Heating Fuel
-Fire Extinguisher
-Battery Powered Radio or T.V.
-Carbon Monoxide/Smoke Detector
-Food, Water, Medicine
-Emergency Heat Source
-First Aid Supplies

On a Farm:
-Have extra water easily available
-Bring extra feed to feeding areas
-Move all animals to enclosed shelter

In a Vehicle:
-Full or near full gas tank
-Let a relative known your ETA
-Charged cell phone
-Extra Food and Water
-Extra Gasoline

Now, a winter storm warning is more timely than just a watch. Even though all of the conditions are the same, a warning means that these conditions are expected within the next 12 hours or sooner. When a warning is issued, there’s little to no time to prepare and as a result, it is harder to ensure safety. Here are some tips depending on your location during that time:

At Home/ In a Building:
1) Stay inside
2) Close off rooms to save heat
3) Cover windows at night
4) Eat & Drink to prevent dehydration
5) Wear layered clothing

Outside:
1) Find a shelter immediately
2) Cover any exposed body parts

If Outdoors Without Shelter:
1) Prepare lean-to, wind break, or snow-cave for protection against wind
2) Build a fire for heat or attention purposes
3) Place rocks around the fire
4) Do not eat snow off of the ground, melt it first

If Stranded in a Vehicle:
1) Stay inside
2) Run motor for 10 minutes each hour
3) Crack windows to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
4) Make sure exhaust pipe is not blocked
5) Tie colored cloth to your antenna
6) Raise the hood after snow stops falling
7) Exercise to keep warm

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