There is no one definition of what a winter storm is, but it’s important that people practice winter weather preparedness.
Winter storms are very all-encompassing. The storms produce a variety of both winter and summertime types of hazards.
Winter hazards include snow, sleet, hail and frigid temperatures.
Summer hazards include high winds, thunderstorms, and tornados.
What is a Good Source for Weather Related Information?
Weather.gov, which is produced by the National Weather Service is focused on forecasting, alerting and warning.
Weather.com is associated with The Weather Channel, an entertainment company.
What are Some Winter Weather Hazards People May Face?
- Heavy snow
- Freezing rain
- Low temperatures
- High winds
The best way to prepare for a winter storm is to “know before you go.” In other words, keep track of the weather and plan accordingly.
Stay prepared by preparing in advance.
If you live in a winter storm area, consider keeping a snow kit in your vehicle. The snow kit should include:
- Full body snowsuit
- Insulated winter boots
- Knit hat
- Thick gloves
- Snow brush
- Metal shovel
- High energy food
- Method to melt snow (ex. Jet Boil stove)
- Artificial heat source (ex. ThermaCare Heat Wraps)
- Battery powered portable NOAA radio
- Portable C.B. radio
How Do Winter Weather Advisories Work?
The National Weather Service issues weather advisories through a tiered structure.
The tiered structure starts with the National Weather Centers.
- National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida deals with hurricanes.
- Storm Prediction Center focuses on severe and fire-related weather.
- Aviation Weather Center is primarily concerned with flying and aviation forecasting.
122 local National Weather Services Offices are scattered around the United States and its territories.
The local offices issue four levels of weather updates for potentially hazardous weather.
- Outlook – Is issued up to seven days in advance of possible hazardous weather in your area.
- Watch – Is issued within 48-hours of a weather impacting event and indicates conditions are favorable for the development of severe hazards.
- Warning – The forecasted weather hazards are either imminent or occurring in your area. Warnings are issues when hazards are posing a significant threat to life and property.
- Advisory – Is a less form of a warning. Weather hazards are not an immediate threat to life or property. Advisories are more of a nuisance condition that has the potential to become a life threat if proper precautions are not taken.
It is important for your winter weather preparedness to pay attention to your local weather forecasts and updates. Doing so helps you to be safe, secure and prepared.
Additional Winter Weather Preparedness Resources
Always use a variety of means to obtain your weather updates.
Local television and emergency management services often have subscription text message alert systems available.
There are a variety of smartphone apps available. Make sure to test the various apps and see what works best for you.
NOAA weather radio covers a majority of the country during disasters and emergency events.
Winter Weather Preparedness Take Away Points
- Know the weather hazards that can impact your area.
- Adjust your winter weather preparedness kit to suit your situation.
- Maintain your winter weather situational awareness.
- Make sure your sources of weather information are accurate and work for you.
Lastly, never forget, you’re just one prep away.
If you have any other thoughts or questions about winter weather preparedness, please leave a comment below.
Stay safe, secure and prepared,
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