Preparing for a Winter Storm

Winter Storms At Home

  • Keep handy a battery-powered flashlight, NOAA weather radio and portable radio, extra food (canned or dried food is best), can opener, and bottled water (at least 3 gallons per person).
  • Make sure each member of household has a warm coat, gloves, hat and water-resistant boots.
  • Ensure that extra blankets and heavy clothes are available.
  • Keep on hand items for infant, elderly or disabled family members.
  • Be aware of potential fire and carbon monoxide hazards if you plan to use an emergency heating source such as a fireplace, wood stove or space heater. 

Winter Storms Outside

  • Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car, or walking in deep snow. Sweating could lead to chill and hypothermia. Cold weather also puts extra strain on the heart, so the elderly and those with heart conditions should be especially cautious when out in the cold.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight warm clothing in layers, with a waterproof outer layer. Wear wool hat and mittens.
  • Keep your clothes dry. Change wet socks and clothing quickly to prevent loss of body heat.
  • Understand the hazards of wind chill. As wind speed increases, heat is carried away from a person’s body more rapidly.

During a Winter Storm

At Home

  • To save heat, close off unneeded rooms, cover windows at night and stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.
  • Maintain adequate food and water intake. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.

If Stranded in a Vehicle

  • Attach a bright cloth to your antenna to attract attention and then remain in the vehicle.
  • Run the motor about 10 minutes each hour for heat. However, open the window slightly for fresh air and make sure that the exhaust pipe isn't blocked.
  • Get attention by turning on the dome light and emergency flashers when running the engine.
  • Exercise by moving arms, legs, fingers and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.

If Stranded Outside

  • Try to stay dry and cover all exposed parts of the body.
  • Prepare a windbreak or snow cave for protection from the wind. Build a fire for heat and to attract attention.
  • Do not eat snow. It will lower your body temperature. Melt it first.