Tips: How to prepare for a winter storm

Oklahoman Modified: January 28, 2010 at 1:55 am •  Published: January 28, 2010
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Be aware


• Know what winter storm and blizzard watches and warnings mean: A National Weather Service Winter Storm watch is a message indicating conditions are favorable to a winter storm; a warning indicates a winter storm is occurring or is imminent; a blizzard warning means sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 mph or greater and considerable falling or blowing snow are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.



• Depend on a reliable weather information source for the latest weather information.

Plan for a storm


• Develop a family disaster plan for winter storms. Everyone should know what to do in case all family members are not together when a winter storm hits.


• Check on family, friends and neighbors, especially the elderly. Make sure they are prepared.


• Make sure pets have good food and water supplies and a place to seek shelter.


• Prepare a kit with food and water, batteries, radio and other necessary supplies you might need if power is out or if you are not able to get out for several days.


• Have your car winterized.

Protect your property


• Make sure your home is properly insulated. If necessary, insulate walls and attic. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windowsills.


• Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.


• To keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of old newspapers. Cover the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture.


• Let faucets stream to avoid freezing.


• Know how to shut off water valves.


• Consider storing extra heating fuel.


• Keep safe, emergency heating equipment, such as a fireplace with wood. Always be cautious in using a portable space heater, and never leave the heater on when you are not in the room or when you go to bed.


• If you have a generator, take the time now to complete any required maintenance. Make sure you follow instructions to include proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you must go out during a winter storm


• The best way to stay safe in a snowstorm is to not be out in it. Long periods of exposure to severe cold can result in frostbite or hypothermia. It is easy to become disoriented in blowing snow.


• Stretch before you go out to shovel snow to warm up your body.


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