Winters bring heavy snowfall and very cold temperatures. Heavy snow can block roads and cause power lines to fall down. The cold temperatures can be dangerous if you are not dressed correctly. Roads are slick and slippery, and falling snow or heavy rain can make it hard to see. If your car breaks down in bad weather, the situation can get serious. It is very important to know what types of winter weather you should prepare for before heading out.
Freezing rain: Rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice on roads and walkways.
Sleet: Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes roads to freeze and become slippery.
Winter Weather Advisory: Cold, ice and snow are expected.
Winter Storm Watch: Severe weather such as heavy snow or ice is possible in the next day or two.
Winter Storm Warning: Severe winter conditions have begun or will begin very soon.
Blizzard Warning: Heavy snow and strong winds will produce a blinding snow, near zero visibility, deep drifts and life-threatening wind chill.
Frost/Freeze Warning: Below freezing temperatures are expected.
Always be prepared for a winter storm by having a winter weather supply kit in your vehicle.
Pack a battery-powered radio with extra batteries,
- Pack food that doesnít need cooking (like canned food),
- Pack a blanket and other clothing to keep you warm,
- Pack a container of rock salt to melt ice and sand to improve traction,
- Pack a flashlights or battery-powered lamp with extra batteries,
Dress in several layers of clothing. Mittens are warmer than gloves, and you should wear a hat and cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from the cold air. Watch for frost bite. (Frostbite happens when your skin is exposed in very cold temperatures or you are not dressed warmly enough. You will have a loss of feeling in that part -- usually a finger or toe or the tip of your nose -- and it may turn white or pale. Get help right away!)
If you get trapped in your car during a blizzard, you should set your lights on flashing. Do not go out on foot unless you can see a building nearby. Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes out of each hour. When the engine is running, open a window slightly. This will protect you from carbon monoxide poisoning. You may need to clear snow away from the carís exhaust pipe.
- You can use road maps, seat covers and floor mats for warmth. You can also huddle with the other passengers! Take turns sleeping so one person is always awake when rescuers come.
- If you are stranded in a remote area you may need to leave the car on foot after the blizzard passes