Preparation for Winter Weather

Advance preparation is perhaps the best thing people can do to avoid problems during winter weather.

At home and work...

Primary concerns are the potential loss of heat... power... telephone service... and a shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than a day. Have available:

  • flashlight and extra batteries
  • battery-powered noaa weather radio or am/fm portable radio
  • extra food and water
  • extra medicine and baby items
  • first-aid supplies
  • heating fuel
  • emergency heating source
  • fire extinguisher and smoke detector

Note: if you use a space heater... make sure you vent your house to to avoid the buildup of deadly carbon monoxide gases. Even a faulty furnace can produce odorless and tasteless carbon monoxide. About 300 people die across the U.S. each year due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

On the farm...

  • move animals to sheltered areas.
  • haul extra feed to nearby feeding areas.
  • have a water supply available...most animal deaths in winter storms are from dehydration.

At schools...

  • monitor the latest forecasts and have a functional plan ready with regard to closures due to or extreme cold.
  • establish guidelines regarding outside recess during extreme cold and windy periods.

When outside...

  • dress to fit the season. Wear loose-fitting...light-weight... Warm clothing in several layers.
  • wear a hat.
  • cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold.
  • wear mittens. These are better than gloves.

When traveling or using your car...

If your vehicle becomes stranded in the snow while you ae traveling in the county.... stay with your vehicle. Don't attempt to walk to a farmer's home in the middle of a snow storm and strong winds. It is better to periodically run the vehicles engine and heater... but make sure you open your window a crack.... and make sure the exhaust pipe is free of snow.

Plan your travel and check the latest weather reports to avoid the storm. Fully check and winterize your vehicle before the winter season begins. Carry a winter storm survival kit...which should include...

  • blankets or sleeping bags
  • a flashlight with extra batteries
  • a first-aid kit
  • a knife
  • high-calorie...non-perishable food
  • a small can and water-proof matches to melt snow for drinking
  • a bag of sand or cat litter
  • a shovel
  • a windshield scraper and brush
  • booster cables

Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.

The key to surviving a winter storm is preparation and common sense.

Keep ahead of winter storms by listening to NOAA Weather Radio. is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.