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February 09, 2023

Severe winter weather can be incredibly dangerous and it's important for you to stay weather alert. Preparing ahead of time is crucial.

    RISKS OF SEVERE WINTER WEATHER

    Winter weather is in full swing across several portions of the United States

    Severe winter weather be it snow, ice, sleet, freezing rain, etc., increase the chance of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, and carbon monoxide poisoning. 

    Because severe winter weather comes in many different forms, it can last for a few hours or several days. It's dangerous and could lead to the cut off of power, heat, and communications services. 

    Winter weather isn't something to take lightly. It puts older adults, children, sick individuals, and pets at risk. 

    WINTER WEATHER TERMINOLOGY

    Winter Storm Watch

    The National Weather Service will issue a "Winter Storm Watch" when there is a possibility of a blizzard, heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet.

    The NWS will typically issue these watches 12 to 48 hours before the winter storm is predicted to begin. This gives residents the ability to get prepared ahead of time.

    Winter Storm Warning

    The National Weather Service will issue a "Winter Storm Warning" when heavy snow, freezing rain, or sleet is either imminent or already occurring. 

    Winter Storm Warnings are often issued 12 to 24 hours before meteorologists expect the storm to begin.

    Winter Weather Advisory

    The National Weather Service will issue a "Winter Weather Advisory" when there are accumulations of snow, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and sleet that are considered dangerous. These advisories also point to significant inconveniences and could lead to life-threatening situations.

     

      

    STAYING WEATHER ALERT

    Knowledge is power so it's key to ensure that you and your family have multiple, redundant ways of receiving important weather information.

    That includes alerts via NOAA Weather Radio, cellphones, and information via local meteorologists.

    ABOUT NOAA WEATHER RADIO

    NOAA Weather Radio is a national network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information. This information comes directly from the National Weather Service (NWS).

    These broadcasts include warnings, watches, forecasts, current weather observations, and other hazardous information.

    According to weather.gov, NOAA Weather Radio is, "the most comprehensive weather and emergency information available to the public."

    NOAA Weather Radios will alert users of important information as soon as the National Weather Service issues them.

    WR120 NOAA Weather Alert Radio

    Midland's WR120 NOAA Weather is the gold standard of weather radios.

    The WR120 features S.A.M.E. EZ localized programming so it can be programmed to only issue alerts for your area.

    With over 60 different alerts, the WR120 gives its users the latest, most accurate information to give families the time needed to prepare for the storm.

    This easy to use NOAA Weather Radio is a must-have item for every home.

     

    Midland ER40 Emergency Crank Radio

    When you're hitting the road, you'll want to ensure you're prepared for any emergency.

    The ER40 is an essential emergency preparedness item.

    With NOAA Weather Radio, the ER40 isn't programmed for one location so it makes getting important information from the National Weather Service easy as you travel from one area to another. 

    Equipped with a flashlight, the ER40 will help you navigate areas with little to no light. It comes in handy in situations in which your car might be stuck or stranded due to winter weather.

    The ER40 also packs a punch with several different sources of power including a lithium rechargeable battery, solar panel, and hand-crank. That will come in handy as power is threatened by severe winter weather.

    Whether you're snowed in or worried about encountering winter weather on the road, the ER40 is a radio you'll want to ensure is ready at the hand.

      

    PREPARING FOR SEVERE WINTER WEATHER

    Take the National Weather Service and your local meteorologist seriously.

    If severe winter weather is headed your way, take the time to make sure you, your home, your family, your car, etc. are ready for the most dire of circumstances. 

    YOUR HOME

    Make sure your home is ready for the cold and inclement weather with insulation, caulking, and weather stripping. One thing you will definitely want to make sure is ready- is working to keep your pipes from freezing. You'll also want to install and test both your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Also, have extra batteries available. 

    Gather the proper supplies BEFORE the storm hits. That includes important medication, batteries, enough perishable food and water supply for the entire household to last for several days, candles, blankets, pet supplies, flashlights, etc. 

    If you can't afford your heating costs, weatherization, or energy-related home repairs, check with the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for help.

    YOUR CAR

    Packing your car is just as important as ensuring your home is prepared for the storm.

    Preparedness experts recommend keeping up with the maintenance on your car like the radiator service, check antifreeze level, replace windshield-wiper fluid with wintertime mixture, check tire pressure and tread, keep the gas tank full, etc. 

    You'll also want to keep your car in good, working order by ensuring the heater, defroster, brakes, brake fluid,  ignition., emergency flashers, exhaust, oil, and battery are ready to go.

    Here are a few items you should always have in your car in case of severe winter weather:

    • Emergency Crank Radio
    • Flashlight
    • Bag of cat little to improve tire traction
    • Snow shovel
    • First aid kit
    • Ice scrapper
    • Jumper cables
    • Water 
    • Blanket
    • Phone charger
    • Matches
    • Non-perishable snacks  

    STAY SAFE DURING WINTER WEATHER

    Listen to your local officials, meteorologists, and NOAA Weather Radio as severe winter weather rolls in.

    Driving on the roads is dangerous. Stay off the roads if possible. If you find yourself trapped in your car, stay inside.

    Reduce the risk of heart attack by avoiding overexertion when shoveling snow and walking in the snow. Shoveling is dangerous because of the level of exertion it requires and because of the impact of cold temperatures on your heart. Cold weather causes the blood vessels to contract raising your blood pressure which in turn increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. Some signs and symptoms of heart attacks include nausea or vomiting, dizziness, shortness of breath, pain; numbness; or tingling in your jaw; back; neck; or shoulders, cold sweat, sensation of heartburn, sudden fatigue.

    Try to limit the amount of time you spend outdoors. If you can't avoid the outdoors, wear layers of warm clothing.

      

    SIGNS OF LIFE-THREATENING CONDITIONS

    Spending too much time outside can lead to serious, life-threatening conditions such as frostbite and hypothermia.

    Ready.gov says, "frostbite cases loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers, and toes. Hypothermia is, "an usually low body temperature.. A temperature below 95 is an emergency." 

    Frostbite Signs

    • Numbness
    • White or grayish-yellow skin
    • Firm or waxy skin

      Hypothermia Signs

      • Shivering
      • Exhaustion
      • Confusion
      • Fumbling hands
      • Memory loss
      • Slurred speech
      • Drowsiness

        USING A GENERATOR

        Generators are useful, especially when power goes out, which happens during severe winter storms. 

        However, if not used properly, generators can be dangerous. It's important to know how to safely use them to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and other hazards. 

        First, always make sure you are following the manufacturer's directions carefully.

        Generators and fuel should only be used outdoors. Make sure you keep both at. least 20 feet away from windows, doors, and attached garages.

        Experts with the Department of Homeland Security say you should keep the generator dry and protected from both rain and flooding. Touching a wet generator can lead to electrical shock.

        When connecting a generator to appliances, use heavy-duty extension cords. 

        Let the generator cool before refueling. Spilled fuel on a hot engine could lead to a fire.

        Most importantly, make sure there is a working carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home. 

        BLIZZARD RIPS ACROSS UNITED STATES

        A historic blizzard hit portions of the United States just before the end of 2022. 

        More than 60 people died as a result of the winter storm in which Erie County (Bufalo, NY) saw some of the worst impacts. Lake effect storm pummeled the county, all but shutting down first responders. 

        New York wasn't the only area hit by the storm. Deaths were also recorded in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

        The effects of the storm also led to thousands of flights cancelled across the country.


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