Severe winter weather can occur in many forms. Rain, sleet, ice, snow, hail, blizzards in any combination is possible. Often, a change of only a few degrees in temperature can make the difference between a rainy winter day and a severe winter storm.
Severe winter storms can be local or cover large areas of the country; they may vary with intensity, depending on location. Severe winter storms and their residual effects can hamper local or distant services critical to your operation.
Winter storms can knock out power, heat and communication to your home or business, sometime for many days. A severe storm can immobilize an entire region.
Storms can also occur back-to-back in quick succession, providing little time to recover from one storm before the next one strikes.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that you take the following winter weather safety steps to prepare for storms:
- Add these supplies to your emergency kit: rock salt or other ice-melt, sand to improve traction, snow shovels and other snow-removal equipment, sufficient heating fuel, and adequate clothing and blankets to stay warm.
- Make a family communication plan. In case you’re not together when a storm hits, you need to know how to get in touch with each other and come up with plans, just in case.
- Pay attention to local TV and radio station for important updates from the National Weather Service and be alert to changing weather conditions.
- Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies in your car.
- Bring pets inside during bad winter weather. Move other animals to sheltered areas where they have access to non-frozen drinking water.