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Would you know how to protect yourself, family from a severe winter storm that could consist of blizzard conditions, ice storms or prolonged sub-zero temperatures?
Know the Terms.
A winter storm watch means conditions exist for a severe winter storm to develop. A winter storm watch alerts the public to the potential for heavy snow, significant icing or a combination of these events. Winter storm watches are issued 12 to 48 hours before the beginning of a winter storm. Prepare for the weather event in case conditions worsen. Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or local television or radio news station for up-to-date weather information.
A winter storm warning is issued by the National Weather Service when heavy snow or a combination of heavy accumulation of snow, freezing rain, heavy sleet or blowing and drifting snow is expected to occur in your area. Continue to listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or local television or radio news station for up-to-date weather information, including school and business delays/closures.
Make a kit. Ensure you have enough supplies for every member of your family to survive on for at least three days. Include winter-specific items such as rock salt to melt ice on walkways, sand to improve traction, snow shovels and other snow removal equipment. Keep a stock of food, extra drinking water, warm clothing, blankets or sleeping bags on hand, as well. Click here for a more complete disaster supplies kit checklist.
Prepare for possible isolation in your home. If your main source of heat is a propane tank, ensure it has fuel before winter sets in. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood if you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove. Store extra blankets, coats, sweaters, etc. in your family preparedness kit. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand, and ensure that everyone knows how to use it.
Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply. Insulate walls and attics. Caulk and weather-strip windows and doors. Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic.
Listen to weather reports for up-to-date weather information. Invest in a tone-alert NOAA Weather Radio or listen to weather reports from local news stations, cable weather stations or radio.