As cold temperatures return to Missouri, it is important that families begin to plan for the threat of severe winter storms and the dangers these storms can bring. In preparation, the National Weather Service, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the State Emergency Management Agency and Missouri’s local emergency managers are joining forces to promote Wednesday, Nov. 14, as Winter Weather Awareness Day in Missouri.
Recommended preparations include creating a winter car kit for the trunk of your car, making sure fireplaces and generators function properly, exercising caution when shoveling snow or pushing a car out of snow banks and avoiding unnecessary travel when driving conditions are poor.
It is also important for people to keep up to date on weather forecasts and to understand key National Weather Service terms:
•Winter Storm Watch indicates that severe winter weather may affect your area within 12-48 hours.
•Winter Storm Warning indicates severe winter weather is in the area or expected immediately and can be life threatening.
•Ice Storm Warnings are issued for ice accumulations of a quarter-inch or more.
Missourians can prepare for winter by:
•Creating a family emergency plan and an emergency kit with bottled water and food that can be prepared without cooking in case of a power outage. Kits should include bottled water, canned and dry foods, battery-powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, manual can opener and a first-aid kit.
•Securing an alternate fuel source such as firewood or a generator. Make sure your fireplace functions properly. If you have a generator, make sure you have fuel and that your generator functions properly. Only operate generators outdoors.
•Creating a winter car kit in the trunk of the car. This includes a blanket, spare radio with batteries, snacks or energy-type food, jumper cables, flares, shovel, sand or shingles to give tires traction.
Additional information about winter weather and preparedness tips can be found at the following Web sites:
•National Weather Service – St. Louis Winter Weather Awareness Page: www.crh.noaa.gov/lsx/?n=winterday
•SEMA: www.sema.dps.mo.gov (Click on “Severe Winter Weather” in the “Plan and Prepare” section.)
•Missouri Ready in 3 Program’s Weather Preparedness Page: http://health.mo.gov/emergencies/readyin3/weather.php
•Missouri Dept. of Transportation’s Travel Information Map: www.modot.mo.gov
•FEMA’s Winter Awareness Campaign: http://www.ready.gov/winter-weather
•National Weather Service – Winter Storms, The Deceptive Killers Brochure: http://www.weather.gov/os/brochures/winterstorm.pdf
•Missouri Ready in 3 Program also provides free family safety guides to help prepare your family and household: http://health.mo.gov/emergencies/readyin3/pdf/familyguideenglish.pdf or call (573) 526-4768 to order a free family safety guide. The family safety guide is available in several languages.