Be Smart. Take Part. PREPARE.
February is Winter Weather Preparedness and Extreme Cold Preparedness month. It is important to know your risks. What? Where? When?
- What? A winter storm occurs when there is significant precipitation and the temperature is low enough that precipitation forms as sleet or snow, or when rain turns to ice. Winter storms can range for a few hours or last several days and can be accompanied by dangerously low temperatures. Winter storms can cause power outages that last for days. They can make roads and walkways extremely dangerous or impassable and close or limit critical community services such as public transportation, child care, health programs and schools. Injuries and deaths may occur from exposure, dangerous road conditions, and carbon monoxide poisoning and other conditions.
- Where? Winter storms and colder than normal temperatures can happen in every region of the country.
- When? Winter storms can occur from early autumn to late spring depending on the region.
Before snow storms and extreme cold or just to be ready:
During snow storms and extreme cold:
- Stay indoors during the storm.
- Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule and your route; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
- Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.
- Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and lift lighter loads.
- Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
- If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
- Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
- Wear a hat and cover your mouth with a scarf to reduce heat loss.