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Friday, November 26, 2010

Preparing for Winter


"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten,
and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow"
"With winter right around the corner, it's never too early to start preparing for snowstorms, icy roads, and other types of severe weather," says FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.  "Whether you live in an area that is used to severe winters or not, there are three simple steps all Americans should take to get ready: put together an emergency supply kit, develop a family communications plan, and stay informed about the risks and emergencies in your community." For helpful tips and recommendations see http://www.Ready.gov/america/beinformed/winter.html.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) outlook forecast is that the Pacific Northwest could have a colder and wetter than average winter, while the South may be warmer and drier than usual.  Severe winter weather can include snow or subfreezing temperatures, strong winds and ice or heavy rain storms.  An emergency supply kit both at home and in the car will help prepare people for winter power outages and icy or impassable roads.

According to FEMA, an emergency supply kit should include a three-day supply of food and water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio and extra flashlights and batteries.  Thoroughly check and update your family's emergency supply kit and add the following supplies in preparation for winter weather:
  • Ensure your home and car are prepared for the winter weather
  • Buy rock salt to melt ice on walkways
  • Buy sand (we use kitty litter) to improve traction on ice or snow when the car is stuck
  • Purchase snow shovels and other snow removal equipment (keep a small shovel in your car trunk)
  • Have adequate clothing and blankets to help keep you warm.
  • Update your family preparedness plan and contacts list
  • Test your family plan
  • Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government and your children's schools
Bottom Line

Keep informed of weather alerts via TV, radio, email, blackberry, etc. Ensure that you follow at least one of these to get advance notice of the following winter hazards:
  • Freezing Rain creates a coating of ice on roads and walkways.
  • Sleet is rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes roads to freeze and become slippery.
  • Winter Weather Advisory means cold, ice and snow are expected.
  • Winter Storm Watch means severe weather such as heavy snow or ice is possible in the next day or two.
  • Winter Storm Warning means severe winter conditions have begun or will begin very soon.
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