Winter Weather Tips

Preparing for Winter Weather

  • With winter approaching, be sure to look through your emergency kit and add supplies specific to winter, such as:
    • Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. (Remember that these products can be harmful to dogs, so be sure to choose a non-toxic brand if you or your neighbors have pets.)
    • Sand/gravel to improve traction.
    • Snow shovels or other snow removal equipment.
    • Heating fuel. If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, keep a supply of good, dry wood for heating in case you lose power.
    • Adequate clothing and blankets to keep warm, including coats, sweaters, hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, etc.
    • Keep your NOAA Weather Radio in your kit to receive broadcast alerts and warnings directly from the NWS for all hazards. You may also sign up in advance to receive notifications from your local emergency services.
  • Make a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together, and what you will do in case of an emergency.
  • Before the storm hits, download free smartphone apps, such as those available from FEMA and the American Red Cross, which provide information about finding shelters, providing first aid, and seeking assistance for recovery.
  • Be prepared to bring your pets/animals inside in the event of a winter storm. Move animals and livestock to a sheltered area with non-frozen drinking water.

Plan Your Travel during Winter Weather Carefully

  • During a winter storm, minimize your travel by car. Even if winter weather conditions aren’t obviously present, conditions like black ice can cause vehicles to lose control.
  • If you plan on traveling by vehicle during the winter, make sure to winterize your vehicle. Check (or have a mechanic check) the following items in your car:
    • Ensure that antifreeze levels are sufficient to avoid freezing.
    • Ensure your battery and ignition are in top condition and battery terminals are clean.
    • Check for wear and fluid levels of brakes.
    • Check for leaks and crimped pipes in your exhaust system, and repair/replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually there is no warning of its presence.
    • Fuel and air filters – replace and keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a full tank of gas. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
    • Ensure your heater and defroster are working properly.
    • Check your lights and hazard lights to ensure they’re working properly
    • Check your oil level and weight. Heavier oils can congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
    • Repair any problems with your windshield wipers and maintain proper washer fluid levels.
    • Install good winter tires with adequate tread. Remember that some jurisdictions may require vehicles be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs
  • Keep a winter weather supply kit in your vehicle, including:
    • Shovel
    • Windshield scraper and small broom
    • Flashlight
    • Battery-powered radio
    • Extra batteries
    • Water
    • Food
    • Matches
    • Extra clothing and blankets to keep warm, such as coats, hats, socks, mittens, etc
    • First aid kit
    • Medications
    • Tow chain or rope
    • Jumper cables
    • Road salt and sand
    • Emergency flares
    • Fluorescent distress flag

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