What kinds of problems can severe winter weather cause?
Winter storms can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds. Staying safe and warm can be a challenge. You may have to cope with problems such as
- Cold-related health problems, including frostbite and hypothermia
- Household fires and carbon monoxide poisoning from space heaters and fireplaces
- Unsafe driving conditions from icy roads
- Power failures and loss of communication
Floods after the snow and ice melt
How can I prepare for a winter weather emergency?
If there is a winter storm coming, there are things you can do to try to keep yourself and your loved ones safe:
- Have a disaster plan which includes
- Making sure that you have important phone numbers, including for your health care providers, pharmacy, and veterinarian
- Having a communication plan for your family
- Knowing how to get reliable information during the storm
- Prepare your home to keep out the cold with insulation, caulking, and weather stripping. Learn how to keep pipes from freezing.
- Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power
- If you plan to use your fireplace or wood stove for emergency heating, have your chimney or flue inspected each year
- Install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector
- If you have to travel, be sure you have an emergency car kit with some basic supplies like
- An ice scraper
- A shovel
- Cat litter or sand for better tire traction
- Water and snacks
- Extra warm clothing
- Jumper cables
- First aid kit with any necessary medicines and a pocket knife
- A battery-powered radio, a flashlight, and extra batteries
- Emergency flares or distress flags
- Waterproof matches and a can to melt snow for water
If you do experience a disaster, it is normal to feel stressed. You may need help in finding ways to cope.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention