1. Being familiar with terminology used by the Weather Service will help you know what to expect when weather warnings are issued. The following terms are used frequently in winter weather releases:
Freezing rain occurs when temperatures are below 32 F and rain freezes on impact. This causes an ice coating on all exposed surfaces. If the coating is heavy, falling trees or wires can be additional hazards.
Freezing rain or drizzle is called an ice storm when a substantial glaze layer accumulates. In some parts of the country, ice storms are called “silver thaws” or “silver frosts.”
Sleet is frozen rain drops (ice pellets) which bounce on surface impact. Sleet does not stick to objects, but sufficient accumulation can cause dangerous driving conditions.
Travelers’ advisory means that falling snow and/or drifting snow, strong winds, freezing rain or drizzle will make driving hazardous.
Heavy snow warnings are issued when 4 or more inches are expected during a 12-hour period, or when 6 inches or more are expected during a 24-hour period.
Blowing and drifting snow result from strong winds. Blowing, falling snow or loose snow on the ground can produce sizeable drifts. Blizzard warnings are issued when wind speeds of 35 miles per hour or more are expected with blowing or drifting snow.
Snow squalls are brief, intense snowfalls accompanied by gusty surface winds.
Wind chill factor is the combined effect of wind and cold. A very strong wind combined with a temperature below freezing can have the same chilling effect as a temperature almost 50 degrees lower with no wind. Anyone who is outdoors and exposed to low temperatures and strong winds will be more easily exhausted and more subject to frostbite or death.
Wind Chill Temperatures
|Temperature||Wind Speed: 15 MPH||30 MPH||40 MPH|
|30 F||11 F||-2 F||-4 F|
|20 F||-5 F||-18 F||-22 F|
|10 F||-18 F||-33 F||-36 F|
|0 F||-33 F||-49 F||-54 F|
|-10 F||-45 F||-63 F||-69 F|
|-20 F||-60 F||-78 F||-87 F|
|-30 F||-70 F||-94 F||-101 F|
|-40 F||-85 F||-109 F||-116 F|
2. Pay attention to weather forecasts and other winter weather releases on radio and television.
3. Check battery powered equipment, emergency cooking facilities and flashlights so you won’t be without heat or light during a storm.
4. Check your supply of heating fuel. Fuel carriers may not be able to deliver during heavy snow.
5. Stock extra food. Include food that needs no cooking in case of power failure.
6. If power is out, keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
7. Prevent fires by not overheating your stove, heater or furnace. Don’t leave fireplaces unattended.
8. Stay indoors during cold snaps and storms unless you are in top physical condition. If you must go out, don’t overexert.
Be particularly careful when shoveling snow.
Heart attack is a common cause of death during and after winter storms. Remember that cold winds and temperatures put extra stress on your body even if you are in good condition.
9. Wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Layers of clothing trap warm air close to your body.
You can remove clothing to prevent perspiring and subsequent chill. Outer clothes should be tightly woven, water repellent and hooded if possible.
Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold. 10.Get your car winterized before the cold season.
Use snow tires or chains.
Keep the fuel tank filled to prevent water from getting into the fuel and causing the engine to stall.
11.If you must travel when bad weather is forecast, be sure someone knows where you are going and the time you expect to arrive. Travel with someone else if at all possible.
12.Blizzards may require long periods of isolation. If you need outside help during this time, you should know the following emergency distress signals to signal aircraft:
Need doctor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .I
Need medical supplies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . II
Need food and water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .F
Need fuel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .L
International distress signal . . . . . . . . . . .SOS
Make these signals on the ground where they will be clearly visible from the air. The letters should be at least 10 feet tall.
Use black cloth or plastic, hay, boards or other material readily visible on the white snow. If no materials are available, tramp the letters into the snow, deep enough to create as much shadow as possible.