Proper winter weather awareness includes preparation. Here are some things that can help you.
Check temperatures and wind chill indicies first.
Dress warmly, with several layers. Dress for the worst just in case.
Use a warm coat, gloves or mittens, a hat, and water-resistant boots.
Cover exposed skin as much as possible.
Watch for frostbite on finger tips, ear lobes, the nose, or toes.
Avoid over-exertion. The cold already puts a strain on the body and heart.
At Home or Work - make sure you have:
Extra flashlights and batteries
A battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio or AM/FM portable radio
Extra food and water (2-3 day supply)
Extra medicine and baby items
First Aid supplies
Emergency Heating source**
Carbon Monoxide Detector
** If you use an emergency heating source, be alert for deadly carbon monoxide gases and never place it near another object that may catch on fire. Many house fires during the winter are caused by incorrect use of a space heater. Keep the space heater at least 36 inches away from other objects and turn it off if you leave the room.
On the farm:
Move animals to a sheltered area.
Supply extra food for animals.
Have a fresh water supply (most animal deaths during the winter are from dehydration).
Have an action plan.
Monitor weather conditions closely.
Use NOAA Weather Radio to get hourly wind chill values.
School days may need to be delayed, cancelled, or shortened.
Winterize your vehicle. Check the battery.
Check the forecast and road conditions ahead of time.
Consider adjusting your route to avoid poor driving conditions.
Carry a cellular phone for use during emergencies.
Keep the gas tank near full.
Coordinate with others your destination and times of travel.
Yield to snowplows. The snow cloud they produce can lower visibilities to near zero. Stay back - Stay Alive!
Have a survival kit in your car:
Extra blankets or sleeping bag
Flashlight with extra batteries
First Aid kit with pockey knife
A small shovel
A bag of sand or cat litter for traction
Plastic bags (for sanitation)
Extra gloves, hat, and socks
Non-perishable food items and bottled water
Road maps (for alternative routes)
If you do get stuck:
Stay with your car. Do not try to walk to safety.
Start the car for about 10 minutes every hour for heat.
Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow.
Tie a bright colored (red or orange) cloth to the antenna.
Turn the dome light when running the engine.
If you must venture away from the car, use a life-line or rope.
Be careful of Dense Fog. Delay your travel if needed.
Do not drive into a dense fog bank. Others may be stopped.
In October 2002, a pile-up on Interstate 43 in eastern Wisconsin killed 10 people (see image) during dense fog.
In January 2008, another series of accidents in southern Wisconsin led to some fatalities due to dense fog.