Public Information Statement
National Weather Service
Bismarck, North Dakota
...This is Severe Winter Weather Awareness Week in North Dakota...
Severe winter weather awareness week is designed to heighten awareness about the hazards associated with winter weather. If you have not yet taken the time to prepare for the coming winter season...now would be a good time.
www.weather.gov/bis (Bismarck National Weather Service)
www.nd.gov/des (ND Department of Emergency Services)
www.dot.nd.gov (ND Department of Transportation)
The National Weather Service issues watches...warnings...and advisories to heighten awareness about the risk of hazardous winter weather.
Watch...is issued when the risk of a hazardous winter weather event has increased...but its occurrence...location...and or timing is still uncertain. Example...winter storm watch.
Warning or advisory...is issued when a hazardous winter weather event has a high probability of occurrence...is imminent...or is occurring. Example... winter storm warning...winter weather advisory.
Warning is used when there is a threat to life or property. Advisory is for less serious conditions that cause inconvenience...and...if caution is not used...could lead to a situation that may threaten life or property.
TUESDAY TOPICS...winter travel
When traveling...near or far...carry a winter survival kit in the vehicle. Include in it extra clothing...a blanket...and high energy food like candy bars...peanuts...and raisins. Include a flashlight with fresh batteries…paper towels...some sand...and a shovel. Try to keep the gas tank and windshield washer bottle full.
Before setting out on a trip be sure to let someone know the time you leave...the route you will take...and the time you plan to arrive. Check the latest weather forecast and road report. Take a cell phone. Be sure your vehicle windows...headlights...and taillights are clear of snow...ice...and frost.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol coordinates with the North Dakota Department of Transportation on road closures. Traffic control devices such as gates or barriers may be used to close roads. Anyone who knowingly proceeds past a road closure device and drives on a closed road is in violation of state law. Beyond being against the law...it may result in loss of life...yours and the emergency personnel attempting your rescue should you become stranded.
WEDNESDAY TOPICS...if you get stuck
If you get stuck in snow...raise the vehicle antenna and tie a brightly colored cloth to it so others passing by will see you. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow but do not over exert yourself by trying to push or shovel the vehicle out of deep snow. Keep one window open about one half inch. Frequently exercise by clapping your hands and rubbing your feet. Most important...stay inside the vehicle. Do not try to walk away from the vehicle unless you can see a place of safety at a reasonable distance. Run the engine for brief periods for heat.
If you get stuck and are trapped...do not allow yourself to fall asleep. Staying awake will increase your chances at survival.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation has an easy to remember road report number...5 1 1
THURSDAY TOPICS...stranded at home...heating sources
At home...assemble a disaster supply kit. Store drinking water...canned food...a non electric can opener...first aid kit...battery-powered radio...flashlight and fresh batteries. Also include winter specific items such as rock salt...sand...and other snow removal equipment. Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during bitterly cold weather to avoid freezing. Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
Prepare for the possibility that you will need to stay in your home for several days after a winter storm. Make sure you have sufficient heating fuel as well as emergency heating equipment in case electricity is cut off. Maintain ventilation when using kerosene or propane heaters to avoid a build up of toxic fumes. Always refuel outside. Keep all heaters at least three feet from flammable objects.
House fires pose an additional risk...as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions. Keep fire extinguishers on hand...and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them.
Be sure fire hydrants near your home and business are visible.
FRIDAY TOPICS...ice thickness...winterize your vehicle
Ice fishing...ice does not freeze evenly on rivers or lakes. Conditions such as water current...schooling fish...water depth...temperature fluctuations...and wind all affect ice thickness. Snow cover has insulating properties and its depth will affect the thickness of underlying ice. The weight of snow will adversely affect the weight bearing capacity of ice.
Prepare your vehicle for the coming winter...winterize your vehicle by checking the battery...ignition system...thermostat...lights...exhaust...heater...brakes...defroster and tires. Ensure that your vehicle has adequate antifreeze...windshield washer fluid and oil...and check regularly throughout the season.
Traveling in winter...do so in daylight...do not travel alone...keep others informed of your schedule and route...and stay on main roads. Avoid driving in harsh winter weather.