to Do During a Winter Storm Watch
to a NOAA Weather Radio, or local radio or television stations for
updated information. Local authorities will provide you with
the best information for your particular situation.
aware of changing weather conditions. Severe weather can happen
quickly. Temperatures may drop rapidly, winds may increase or snow
may fall at heavier rates. What is happening where you are may not
agree with local forecasts.
animals to sheltered areas. Have a water supply available. Most
animal deaths in winter storms are from dehydration.
unnecessary travel. Your safest place during a winter storm
is indoors. About 70 percent of winter deaths related to ice and
snow occur in automobiles.
Steps to Take During a Winter Storm/Blizzard Warning
indoors and dress warmly during the storm. Wearing layers of
loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing will keep you warmer than
one bulky sweater. Remove layers to avoid overheating, perspiration
and subsequent chill.
to a battery-powered radio or television for updated emergency information.
If the power goes out, you will still have access to important information.
regularly. Food provides the body with energy for producing
its own heat.
the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration. Drink
liquids such as warm broth or juices. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Caffeine, a stimulant, accelerates the symptoms of hypothermia.
Alcohol, such as brandy, is a depressant and hastens the effects
of cold on the body. Alcohol also slows circulation and can make
you less aware of the effects of cold. Both caffeine and alcohol
can cause dehydration.
fuel. Winter storms can last for several days. Great demand
may be placed on electric, gas, and other fuel distribution systems
(fuel oil, propane, etc.). Suppliers of propane and fuel oil may
not be able to replenish depleted supplies during severe weather.
Electric and gas services may be temporarily disrupted when many
people demand large amounts at the same time. Lower the thermostat
to 65°F during the day and 55°F at night. Close off unused
rooms, and stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors. Cover windows
you must go outside, protect yourself from winter storm hazards.
layered clothing, mittens or gloves, and a hat. Layering clothes
will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat. Outer garments
should be tightly woven and water repellent. Mittens or gloves and
a hat will prevent loss of body heat. Mittens are warmer than
gloves because fingers maintain more warmth when they touch
each other. Half of your body heat loss is from the head.
your mouth to protect your lungs from extremely cold air. Avoid
taking deep breaths; minimize talking.
for signs of hypothermia and frostbite. Frostbite is a severe
reaction to cold exposure that can cause permanent harm to
people. A loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in fingers,
toes, nose, or earlobes are symptoms of frostbite. Hypothermia
is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to
less than 95°F. Symptoms of hypothermia include uncontrollable
shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, frequent stumbling,
drowsiness, and exhaustion. Hypothermia is not always fatal, but
for those who survive there are likely to be lasting kidney,
liver, and pancreas problems.
frostbite or hypothermia is suspected, begin warming the person
slowly and seek immediate medical assistance. Warm the person's
trunk first. Using your own body heat will help. Arms and legs should
be warmed last because stimulation of the limbs can drive cold
blood toward the heart and lead to heart failure. Put the person
in dry clothing and wrap their entire body in a blanket. Never give
a frostbite or hypothermia victim alcohol or something with
caffeine in it, like coffee or tea. Caffeine, a stimulant, can cause
the heart to beat faster and hasten the effect the cold has
on the body. Alcohol, a depressant, can slow the heart and
also hasten the ill effects of the cold.
dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body
heat. Wet clothing loses much of its insulating value and transmits
heat rapidly away from the body.
before you go out. If you go out to shovel snow, do a few stretching
exercises to warm up your body. This will reduce your chances
of muscle injury.
overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car, or
walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and the hard
labor may cause a heart attack. Sweating could lead to a chill and
carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks. Slips and falls occur frequently
in winter weather, resulting in painful and sometimes disabling
you must go out during a winter storm, use public transportation
if possible. About 70 percent of winter deaths related to ice
and snow occur in automobiles.
Recovering From a Winter Storm
listening to local radio or television stations or a NOAA Weather
Radio for updated information and instructions. Access may be
limited to some parts of the community, or roads may be blocked.
a neighbor who may require special assistance--infants, elderly
people, and people with disabilities. Elderly people and people
with disabilities may require additional assistance. People who
care for them or who have large families may need additional assistance
in emergency situations.
driving and other travel until conditions have improved. Roads
may be blocked by snow or emergency vehicles.
overexertion. Heart attacks from shoveling heavy snow are a
leading cause of deaths during winter.
forecasts and be prepared when venturing outside. Major winter
storms are often followed by even colder conditions.
Use a NOAA Weather Radio with a tone-alert feature to keep you informed
of watches and warnings issued in your area. The tone alert feature
will automatically alert you when a watch or warning is issued.
your local emergency management office or American Red Cross for
information on designated public shelters in case you lose power
information obtained from
The American Red Cross