These images show: a blizzard, a radar image of a blizzard, driving conditions during a blizzard, and a weather radio.
Images Courtesy of: National Weather Service Forecast Office of La Crosse, WI/ Chris Bergeson, NOAA, and National Weather Service Forecast Office of Central Illinois/ Lawrence Estep

Blizzard Safety

Winter storms and blizzards can create difficult conditions. There is a danger at home and on the road. Being prepared is always the safest precaution. A NOAA Weather Radio or local news station can provide information on any watches, warnings, or advisories within the area.

Everyone should stay indoors during a blizzard. Strong winds or heavy snow might cause electrical power lines to fall so the power might go out at your house. Make sure you are prepared for a power outage with flashlights and other heat sources like a fireplace or woodstove. Everyone should consolidate to a few rooms in the house or office to help stay warm. Put a towel or rag underneath doors to avoid losing heat to the other rooms or from cold air getting into the central location. Foods that do not require refrigeration or cooking should be on hand.

Before the winter season starts, automobiles should be checked out by a mechanic. This should be done to make sure that the components needed for winter driving are in proper working order. Blizzards are dangerous to travel in especially during whiteout conditions. It is best to avoid travel if at all possible during these conditions.

Traveling during daylight is important as nighttime can make it difficult to see ice on the roadways. It is dangerous to travel alone thus it is important to have a family member or friend ride along during the trip. Warm clothing including loose fitting, layered, light weight clothing should be worn if traveling during storm conditions to stay warm but to easily move as well. Food and water are also important to have in the vehicle when traveling in this season in case you get stuck in your car for a period of time. Make sure you have a windshield scraper with a small broom in the car during the winter months for ice and snow removal.

If you get stuck in your car during a blizzard, here are some key tips. For ten minutes every hour, turn on the carís engine and heater to help keep warm. The exhaust pipe should be cleared from snow to protect from carbon monoxide. Watch out for signs of hypothermia and frostbite. Try to move your arm and legs especially your hands and feet every so often to keep good circulation.

Last modified July 22, 2008 by Vanessa Pearce.

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