Blizzards, ice storms and freezing temperatures can be a killer for the unprepared!
Winter can bring freezing rain, sleet and snow.
- A few inches of snow or ice can shut down a city and leave you trapped at home for days.
- Driving on ice and snow-covered roads can lead to car wrecks, injuries and death.
- Some winter storms can cover nearly half the nation, affecting tens of millions of people.
- Annually, damages from winter storms add up to over $1 billion.
Know Your Risk! Take Action! Be Winter Storm Smart!
Blizzards are dangerous winter storms that are a combination of blowing snow and wind resulting in very low visibilities. A blizzard is a storm which contains large amounts of snow OR blowing snow, with winds in excess of 35 miles per hour and visibilities of less than one quarter of a mile for at least three hours. When these conditions are expected, the National Weather Service will issue a "Blizzard Warning".
Exposure to cold temperatures can cause frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite may develop on exposed skin when temperatures are below freezing. Wind in addition to below freezing temperatures can make frostbite set even quicker. Dress warmly, in layers, and keep warmers on hand! Here's a Cool Tool - check out the Wind Chill Calculator
Heatworks and Heat Pax Hand, Pocket & Glove Air Activated Instant Charcoal Warmers, Reusable hot packs and warmers, Hot / Cold Packs and Body Warmer Packs including heated Slipper Socks and more.
Flooding is a serious Winter concern, too - even in Freezing, Snowy weather. Flooding is possible due to snowmelt, ice jams and coastal storms such as Nor’easters.
Ice jams are common during the winter. As ice moves downstream, it may get caught on an obstruction to the water flow. Water can be held back, causing upstream flooding. When the jam finally breaks, flash flooding can occur downstream.
Stay tuned to weather concerns online if accessible, or with a weather radio, and know the difference between an advisory, a watch, and a warning:
Winter Storm Warning: Take Action! A winter storm is imminent or occurring. If you hear a warning, immediately go home or shelter in place until it is safe to travel again. If you are home, bring in pets and plan to stay inside until you are told it is safe to go out again.
Winter Storm Watch: Be Prepared! NWS issues a Winter Storm Watch when conditions are favorable for dangerous winter weather. It does not mean the weather will occur, but it is possible. Make preparations for dangerous winter weather.
Winter Weather Advisory: Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.
Prepare for winter with these simple steps:
- Check the forecast at weather.gov and follow NWS on Twitter and Facebook to make sure you’re prepared for the elements and have the latest weather news.
- At home: have an Emergency Preparedness Kit with three days of food, water and prescription medications.
- In your car: make sure you have food, water and blankets in your trunk. If you can, add an Emergency Roadside Kit. Stay off the road when advised to do so by local authorities.
- Dress for the season: wear loose, warm clothing in layers. Carry body warmers.
- During and after the storm: never use a generator or kerosene heater indoors - carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent killer.
- After the storm: take breaks when shoveling snow and stay clear of downed power lines.
- Make sure your cell phone is fully charged when a storm is approaching and also anytime you’re planning to leave the house. It could become your life-line should disaster strike.