Winter Hazard Awareness Week in Minnesota: November 4th through 8th

To help residents of Minnesota minimize risks and mitigate the hazards of winter, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety - in collaboration with the National Weather Service and other agencies - sponsor "Winter Hazard Awareness Week".  Each fall this week is designed to educate, inform, remind, and reinforce the behaviors that lead to a safe and enjoyable winter season.

November 4th through the 8th is Winter Hazard Awareness Week in Minnesota. Each year the National Weather Service and the Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management promote winter safety and individual preparedness for all citizens wherever they are: in their homes, on the road, at work, and at play. Unfortunately, many people each year suffer needlessly because they are unaware of the potential dangers of the winter season.

Average Annual Snowfall across Minnesota

Average annual snowfall across Minnesota

Winter Weather Preparations

  • Keep ahead of the winter storm by listening for the latest weather statements, watches and warnings.
  • Your vehicle should also be ready. Get it winterized, before the onset of winter weather.
  • Be equipped for the worst. Carry a winter survival kit in your car, especially when traveling in rural or open areas. Try to travel with others.

When Driving

  • Yield to snowplows, and give them plenty of room to operate.
  • If your vehicle becomes stranded, stay with it until help arrives.
  • Do not try to walk for help during a blizzard, you could easily become lost in the whiteout conditions.

Outdoor Activities

  • If you will be outside during storms or extreme cold, dress in layered clothing and avoid overexertion.
  • Do not kill yourself shoveling snow. Shoveling is very hard work and may induce a heart attack.
  • If you will be snowmobiling, avoid alcohol. Most snowmobile deaths are alcohol related. Take a snowmobile course offered by the DNR or check with your snowmobile dealer.
  • Every year, there are fatalities in Minnesota when people fall through thin ice.

Home Safety

  • Heating fires are a major cause of residential fires in Minnesota. Turn off portable heating devices when you are away from home or retire for the evening. Have your fireplace and chimney professionally inspected before winter.
  • Carbon Monoxide is most likely to accumulate inside homes during winter. Check your heating systems and ensure your home has proper ventilation. Install a UL listed Carbon Monoxide detector that sounds an alarm.

Winter Hazard Awareness Week Is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. It is sponsored by nine different organizations across Minnesota, including the National Weather Service. For additional information, contact the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management at (651) 201-7400 or go to the NWS Sioux Falls Winter Weather Page.

Attention southwest Minnesota media:  If you would like to schedule an interview concerning Winter Weather Preparedness, please contact Todd Heitkamp at (605) 330-4247 or to schedule an interview, e-mail him at

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