Know What Winter Storm ‘Watches’ and ‘Warnings’ Mean
A winter storm WATCH means a winter storm is possible in your area.
A winter storm WARNING means a winter storm is headed for your area.
A blizzard WARNING means strong winds, blinding wind-driven snow, and dangerous wind chill are expected. Seek shelter immediately!
When a Winter Storm ‘Watch’ is Issued
Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, local radio, and TV stations, or cable TV such as The Weather Channel for further updates.
Be alert to changing weather conditions.
Avoid unnecessary travel.
When a Winter Storm ‘Warning’ is Issued
Stay indoors during the storm.
If you must go outside, several layers of lightweight clothing will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves (or mittens) and a hat will prevent loss of body heat. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs.
Understand the hazards of wind chill, which combines the cooling effect of wind and cold temperatures on exposed skin.
As the wind increases, heat is carried away from a person’s body at an accelerated rated, driving down the body temperature.
Walk carefully on snowy, icy, sidewalks.
After the storm, if you shovel snow, be extremely careful. It is physically strenuous work, so take frequent breaks. Avoid overexertion.
Avoid traveling by car in a storm, but if you must…
Carry a Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk.
Keep your car’s gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
If You Get Stuck
Stay with your car. Do not try to walk to safety.
Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won’t back up in the car.
Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.
As you sit, keep moving your arms and legs to keep blood circulating and to stay warm.
Keep one window away from the blowing wind slightly open to let in air.