Be Prepared: Winter Storms
Posted January 06, 2018
Preparing for winter storms is crucial to survival and safety. Become familiar with winter storm warning signals so you can take appropriate action and learn the dangers of winter ailments to avoid injury.
Winter Weather Warnings
Familiarize yourself with the following weather alerts so you know what actions you may need to take:
- Winter storm watch: Be alert, a storm is likely
- Winter weather advisory: Experts expect conditions to cause significant hazards, especially to motorists
- Frost/freeze warning: Experts expect below freezing temperatures and damage to plants, crops or fruit trees
- Winter storm warning: Take action, a storm is entering—or is already in—the area
- Blizzard warning: The combination of snow and strong winds will produce blinding snow, near zero visibility, deep drifts and life-threatening wind chill—seek refuge immediately
Preventing Cold Weather Injuries
To prevent serious injury from extreme cold, which could result in death or permanent damage, do the following:
- Select proper clothing for cold, wet and windy conditions and layer clothing when possible, making sure to include layers that repel moisture away from the skin.
- Take frequent breaks in warm, dry shelters when possible.
- Avoid over-exerting yourself, as your body needs this energy to keep its muscles warm. Work in pairs when it’s cold to share the load and watch for warning signs of frostbite or hypothermia.
- When you know you will be exposed to extreme cold, prepare yourself warm, sweet beverages to drink and warm, high-calorie foods to consume. Avoid drinks containing caffeine or alcohol.
Other Winter Storm Hazards
Be on the lookout for the following winter storm hazards:
- Adverse driving conditions, such as low visibility and slippery roadways
- Icy walkways and sidewalks, which could cause slips and falls
- Falling objects like icicles, tree limbs and utility poles
- Electrocution due to downed power lines or downed objects in contact with power lines
- Exhaustion, dehydration and back injuries from conducting manual labor in the snow