Winter Storm Preparation Tips

At Home...

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 and portable radio to receive emergency information. These may be your only links to the outside.
  • Extra food and water. High energy food, such as dried fruit or candy, and food requiring no cooking or refrigeration is best.
  • Extra medicine and baby items.
  • First-aid supplies.
  • Heating fuel. Fuel carriers may not reach you for days after a severe winter storm.
  • Emergency heating source, such as a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc.
    • Learn to use properly to prevent a fire.
    • Have proper ventilation.
  • Fire extinguisher and smoke detector.
    • Test units regularly to ensure they are working properly.

In Cars and Trucks...

Fully check and winterize your vehicle before the winter season begins.

Have a mechanic check the following items on your car:

  • Battery
  • Antifreeze
  • Wipers and windshield washer fluid
  • Ignition system
  • Thermostat
  • Lights
  • Flashing hazard lights
  • Exhaust system
  • Heater
  • Brakes
  • Defroster
  • Oil level (if necessary, replace existing oil with a winter grade oil or the
    SAE 10w/30 weight variety)

Install good winter tires.

Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions.

Plan your travel and check the latest weather reports to avoid the storm!


  • blankets/sleeping bags;
  • flashlight with extra batteries;
  • first-aid kit;
  • knife;
  • high-calorie, non-perishable food;
  • extra clothing to keep dry;
  • a large empty can and plastic cover with tissues and paper towels for sanitary purposes;
  • a smaller can and water-proof matches to melt snow for drinking water;
  • sack of sand (or cat litter);
  • shovel;
  • windshield scraper and brush;
  • tool kit;
  • tow rope;
  • booster cables;
  • water container;
  • compass and road maps.

Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines. Try not to travel alone. Let someone know your timetable and primary and alternate routes.

On the Farm...

  • Move animals to sheltered areas. Shelter belts, properly laid out and oriented, are better protection for cattle than confining shelters, such as sheds.
  • Haul extra feed to nearby feeding areas.
  • Have a water supply available. Most animal deaths in winter storms are from dehydration.

Information Courtesy of:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Weather Service
Warning and Forecast Branch
November 1991

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  • Page last modified: 31-Aug-2010 7:38 PM UTC