How to prepare for and stay safe in winter storms

We have entered that time of year when winter weather is a possibility.

Winter weather can create a variety of high-risk situations. These include a heightened potential for car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning and heart attack due to overexertion.

The most important thing to know about winter weather is how to prepare for it and what to do if you find yourself in the middle of a winter storm.

Preparing for a winter storm

• Stay updated on the forecast daily. Winter storms can alter frequently before the day of the event.

• Have a winter weather kit in your car that includes a shovel, blanket, cell phone charger, bag of sand for traction, ice scraper, first aid kit, flashlight and snacks.

• Check to be sure the fluids in your car are full and the tire pressure and tread are up to safety code.

• Stock your home with supplies in case the power goes out or you’re stuck at home for a few days.

Surviving a winter storm

• Stay off the roads if possible and abide by county snow emergencies.

• If you need to go outside, limit your time. Overexposure to winter weather elements can be harmful or even deadly.

• Do not use gas stovetops or ovens to heat your home. Also, only use generators and grills outdoors away from windows.

• Carbon monoxide poisoning can be deadly.

• Avoid overexertion when shoveling. Take breaks often.

• Watch for signs of frostbite or hypothermia. Get treatment right away if symptoms arise.

• Check on your neighbors. Older adults and children are at a higher risk during extreme cold.

The National Weather Service issues several types of winter weather alerts based on the type of winter weather on the way. These alerts include winter weather advisory, winter storm watch or warning, wind chill advisory or warning, ice storm warning and snow squall warning.

Snow squalls are intense bursts of heavy snow that can quickly lead to white-out conditions and slick roads. Squalls don’t typically produce large amounts of snow but rather intense snow showers that can quickly change driving conditions and produce injuries and even fatalities on Miami Valley roads.

They have also been some of the most significant winter weather phenomena that lead to motor vehicle accidents — at times, multi-vehicle pile-ups.

When it comes to staying updated on the forecast, you can always turn to News Center 7 and Also, remember the WHIO weather app is free to download and will send you immediate alerts directly to your device if they are issued. Another very important tool within the app is the interactive radar. The radar allows you to track the snow as it moves in and where it’s headed.

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