Get Winter Storm Ready
Winter Weather Safety
A winter storm is a regular part of any winter season. While snowflakes and icicles are beautiful, the conditions that create them can be dangerous and even deadly. Winter weather conditions can trap you, freeze you and create dangerous travel conditions. You need to be prepared to protect yourself and others from risky situations caused by weather in the winter. That’s why it’s necessary for you to brush up on your winter weather safety tips each year. While each year has a different winter weather outlook, dangerous conditions can form quickly. Below, we’ve listed some of the most common winter threats and what you can do to prepare for them.
Winter Storm Types
Blizzards are the most intense type of winter weather. These snow storms include winds over 35mph which blow previously-fallen snow around. Another characteristic of blizzards are reduced visibility to 1/4 mile of less for at least 3 hours. Blizzards are often chaotic situations that send entire regions into a frenzy before, during and after the weather hits. If a blizzard is predicted for your area, it’s important to prepare before the storm hits. You could potentially be stuck in your home for days with no electricity, so it’s key to:
- Stock up on food
- Gather gas for your generator or wood for your fireplace
- Charge up electronic communication devices in case of emergency
- Store shovels and salt in the house
- Limit traveling on snowy roads
- Take brakes while shoveling and if you have signs of a heart attack call 911
The next winter weather danger on our list is an ice storm. Ice storms happen when at least .25″ of ice accumulates on exposed surfaces. Freezing rain and sleet often produce ice storms. Sleet occurs when snowflakes partially melt when they fall through a small layer of warm air. Then, they refreeze as they hit a colder layer of air and reach the ground as frozen rain drops. Freezing rain, on the other hand, is precipitation that falls, melts and then refreezes on impact with the ground. Since ice is heavier than snow it can be very dangerous. Remember:
- Do not travel. Ice storms make driving conditions extremely treacherous
- Remain indoors. Accumulated ice on trees, power lines and other objects can cause them to fall
- Know the signs of hypothermia and stay warm
Snow storms accompanied by thunder and lightning, otherwise known as “thundersnow,” are a rare incident that most often occurs in North America and Europe. Thundersnow like any other thunderstorm only it has to be cold enough for snow. It’s a very rare occurrence, but when it happens it’s the result of near-perfect conditions. Thundersnow poses all the threats of a winter storm but with lightning dangers as well. It’s important to stay in a lightning safe shelter during these storms.