Winter Storms

Winter storms are dangerous! On average nationwide, there are more deaths attributed to Winter weather than from tornados or hurricanes.

Precautions

snowflakeThere are several precautions you can take to remain safe in the Winter. Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Vent furnaces and fireplaces properly to avoid the possibility of fire or suffocation from dangerous flue gases.
  2. Have your fireplace checked and cleaned by a professional before each winter season. Keep fires small and always use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room. Never burn trash or paper in a fireplace. Remove ashes in a metal container and store them outside. Never leave children unattended in the presence of a fire.
  3. Keep all combustible items away from heating devices, especially space heaters. Use the proper fuel for liquid-fuel heaters, be sure to vent them properly, and fill their tanks only in well vented areas. Carbon monoxide is a serious problem. Buy a carbon monoxide detector for your home if you use gas or space heaters.
  4. Check smoke detectors regularly and keep them clear of dust and debris. Have a fire escape plan, know two ways out of every room. Designate a meeting place outside your home in case of fire. Share the plan with all family members and children.
  5. Allow extra time for travel in Winter when road conditions may be slippery and hazardous. Always drive defensively. Have your local mechanic prepare your automobile for winter weather. Leave plenty of gas in the tank in case you get stranded.
  6. Develop a family plan that includes information on how you would reunite family members if separated by severe weather conditions. Maintain supplies in your home and in your automobile so that you can remain self-sufficient if you are isolated by winter storms.

Be aware of the latest weather conditions and forecasts. Knowing what to do in bad weather and emergencies can help prevent life-threatening and costly accidents.

Winter Advisory Terms

Be familiar with advisory terms:

  1. A WATCH means severe weather, such as heavy snow or ice is possible in the next day or two. When a watch is issued, get ready. At home, check supplies of food and fuel. For the car, check fluid levels and keep the gas tank full.
  2. A WARNING means severe winter weather conditions are occurring, imminent or highly likely. Stay indoors and avoid travel. Warnings may be issued for the following specific hazards:
  3. An ADVISORY means weather conditions could cause significant inconvenience and may become hazardous especially to motorists. Travel with caution. Advisories are issued for the following specific events:

Wind Chill Chart

Wind chill is a how cold it feels because of the combined effects of cold temperature and strong wind. Wind chill can be determined on the following chart if you know the actual temperature and wind speed. Where the temperature and wind speed meet (across and down) is the wind chill.

Temperature > 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 -5 -10 -15
Wind Speed Temperature feels like (wind chill)...
5 mph 31 25 19 13 7 1 -5 -11 -16 -22 -28
10 mph 27 21 15 9 3 -4 -10 -16 -22 -28 -35
15 mph 25 19 13 6 0 -7 -13 -19 -26 -32 -39
20 mph 24 17 11 4 -2 -9 -15 -22 -29 -35 -42
25 mph 23 16 9 3 -4 -11 -17 -24 -31 -37 -44
30 mph 22 15 8 1 -5 -12 -19 -26 -33 -39 -46
35 mph 21 14 7 0 -7 -14 -21 -27 -34 -41 -48

Older people are particularly susceptible to cold weather. Dress warmly and limit your exposure to the cold weather. Dress in loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Wool clothing will help you stay warm. Wearing several light layers will trap more body heat. Also, keeping your clothing dry will prevent loss of body heat. Avoid alcoholic beverages because it causes the body to lose its heat more rapidly as it dilates surface blood vessels.

Other preventative measures include eating regularly, dressing warmly even indoors, and staying as active as possible. Keep warm in bed by wearing enough clothing and using blankets.

Use this link to learn more about hypothermia.

Supplies for a Disaster Kit

Be sure to have a disaster kit stored in your home and make sure that the following are included:

  1. First aid kit.
  2. Essential medications.
  3. Battery powered radio.
  4. Flashlight.
  5. Extra batteries.
  6. Canned food.
  7. Non-electric can opener.
  8. Bottled water.

Winter joggers and walkers should plot their course against the wind on the way out and with the wind at your back on the way home. This lowers the amount of wind that catches your body's perspiration in your front at the end of the exercise period when you have perspired most.

Don't be another Winter weather statistic! Make sure that you and your family are prepared throughout the Winter season.

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