Winter is coming! How will you prepare? Winter Weather Preparedness

snowy winter scene

Even though this picture shows a peaceful and serene setting, winter weather
can cause hazardous and life-threatening situations. PLEASE PREPARE!

Every winter, people are injured or killed during winter storms in automobile accidents, and face other indirect dangers such as fallen trees, power lines, and house fires. Improper indoor use of heat sources such as grills, stoves, and space heaters has become the number one winter danger resulting in house fires and deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.

The goal of winter weather preparedness week is to re-educate North Carolinians on the hazards of winter weather and to help everyone become better prepared for these hazards before winter weather strikes.

After several quiet winters with only light snow accumulations, are we “due” for a big, snowy winter? While it is extremely difficult to predict the number of winter storms this season, weather patterns are changing to support a wetter winter than last year and perhaps near normal cold temperatures. In Central North Carolina any snow the area receives is often accompanied by ice in the form of sleet or glaze from freezing rain.

What North Carolinians can and should do is prepare for the worst.One good practice is to keep up with the latest conditions and forecasts from the National Weather Service either via NOAA Weather Radio or on the Internet. If a light accumulation of freezing rain or sleet is forecast or if snow accumulations ofone tothree inches are expected in central North Carolina, the Raleigh National Weather Service will issue a Winter Weather Advisory. Watches and Warnings are issued for more severe weather.

You can keep up with winter forecasts, warnings and advisories by visiting the Raleigh National Weather Service online.

For the latest road conditions and access to web cameras statewide, visit the North Carolina Department of Transportation online.

And for more winter weather safety tips, visit the National Weather Service.

Putting Together Good Winter Survival Kits

icy treesPreparing for winter weather long before it strikes is easy and will go a long way to helping you and your loved ones stay safe through this winter. Take time at the beginning of the winter season to assemble winter survival kits – one for home and one for each vehicle. A good home kit is easy to make and consists of:

  • Several days’ worth of food that needs no cooking or refrigeration, such as bread, crackers, cereal, canned foods, and dried fruits; remember baby food and formula if you have young children
  • Other baby items as needed, such as extra diapers
  • Several days’ worth of water stored in clean containers, or purchased bottled water (5 gallons per person)
  • Several days’ worth of medicines that any family member may need
  • Blankets
  • Flashlights and/or battery-powered lanterns
  • Battery-powered radio and clock
  • Extra batteries
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Snow shovel
  • Rock salt, to help melt ice

Having these items on hand will help you avoid having to venture out into hazardous conditions and will help sustain you in the event of widespread power outages or fallen trees that may block roads and keep you at home. Cans of food with flip-top lids and pantry items such as granola bars and dry cereal are better choices to get you through a long power outage.

cars in winter

For a winter survival kit for your vehicle, consider adding these items:

  • Blankets
  • Battery-powered NOAA weather radio for the latest storm updates
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Windshield scrapers and brush
  • Jumper cables
  • Mobile phone
  • Bag of sand or cat litter (to pour on ice or snow for added traction)
  • Tow rope
  • Small or collapsible shovel
  • Container of water and non-perishable, high-energy foods such as granola bars
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Tire repair kit and pump

If you will be traveling to a more snowy location, such as the mountains or in the northern U.S., you’ll want to add other items such as a tow rope and tire chains. But most of all, when driving during wintry weather, you should also bring along your best driving skills and your patience! And remember that if possible, the safest place to be during winter weather is at home.Do not venture out in your vehicle during a winter storm unless it’s absolutely necessary.

National Weather Service Online Winter Weather Presentation

Ready Forsyth web site

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