It doesn’t take a full blizzard to have a winter storm. Winter storms can include extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice and high winds.
Winter storms can:
Last a few hours or several days
Cut off heat, power and communication services
Put older adults, children, those who are sick, and pets at greater risk
Before a Winter Storm
Here are some things you can do with an adult in your family to prepare for winter weather:
Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power
Keep extra layers, a blanket, and food and water in the car, in case you get stuck in the snow
Learn about the signs and treatments for frostbite and hypothermia
During a Winter Storm
Find shelter right away. Bring your pets inside before the storm begins.
Listen for emergency information. Use your radio, television, NOAA Weather Radio, or weather apps.
Prepare for power outages, and have you kit handy.
Stay off the roads. Don’t go sledding while being pulled by a car or ATV, only go sledding in open areas away from roads.
Don’t go out on frozen ponds or other bodies of water, they may not be as frozen as they look.
Dress warmly. Wear several layers of loose, lightweight and warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Mittens and warm socks will help protect your fingers and toes, hats and warm shoes will help keep heat from escaping your body, and cover your mouth with a scarf will help protect your lungs. If you feel too warm, remove layers to avoid sweating; if you feel chilled, add layers.
Watch for signs of frostbite. Frostbite is a type of injury caused by freezing. Signs include extremities appearing white, skin that feels waxy and numbness.
Watch for signs of hypothermia. Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposures to very cold temperatures. Signs include shivering, numbness, confusion, memory loss, shivering, fumbling hands, slow or slurred speech, and loss of consciousness. If you or someone you know is experiencing signs of hypothermia, warm up the center of the body first and go to a medical facility or call 9-1-1 right away.
Check on friends, family and neighbors. If you see homeless people stranded in the cold, call your local authorities so they can find a shelter for them.