Winter Weather Preparedness

Snow & Ice Preparedness


During the winter months, keep an eye on the local weather forecasts. When the forecast calls for severe winter weather, be sure to monitor your local radio, TV or NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio for the most up to date information. Listen for winter-related watches and warnings, and be ready to take action. When the weather turns cold, make sure that your vehicles' gas tanks are kept full to prevent freezing of gas lines. Also, propane and oil tanks used for power and heating should be kept stocked.

When a Winter Weather Advisory is Issued:


  • Winter weather conditions are expected to cause difficulty and might be dangerous.
  • These situations should not become life-threatening as long as caution is taken.

When a Winter Storm Watch is Issued:


  • Severe winter conditions, such as heavy snow or ice, are possible within the next day or two.
  • Prepare now. Make sure your disaster supply kits are fully stocked and that all vehicles are fueled up and winterized (with antifreeze, etc.).
  • Be sure animals or livestock are in a warm, dry place.

When a Winter Storm Warning is Issued:


  • Severe winter conditions have begun or are about to begin in your area.
  • Stay indoors if possible. Travel only if absolutely necessary.
  • When a blizzard warning is issued, snow and strong winds will combine to produce a blinding snow with near zero visibility, deep drifts and life-threatening wind chill.
  • Stay indoors if possible and travel only if absolutely necessary.

Winter-Related Medical Emergencies


  • Frostbite: Frozen body tissue
    • Symptoms: Loss of feeling in the extremity and a white or pale appearance. Fingers, toes, ears and the tip of the nose are most susceptible.
    • Treatment: Get medical attention immediately. Affected area(s) should be slowly rewarmed.
  • Hypothermia: Occurs when the body's temperature falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Symptoms: Uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and exhaustion.
    • Treatment: Get medical attention immediately. If you can't get help quickly, begin warming the body slowly. Warm the body first, not the extremities. Get the victim into dry clothing and wrap in a warm blanket covering the head and neck. Do not give the victim alcohol, drugs, coffee or any hot beverage or food. Warm broth and food is better.