Winter Weather: Know the Terms
Winter Storm Watch: A winter storm is possible in your area. Tune in to your NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for more information.
Winter Storm Warning: A winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area.
Freezing Rain: Rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees and power lines.
Sleet: Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and become slippery.
Frost/Freeze Warning: Below freezing temperatures are expected.
Dress for the Weather:
- Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight and warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
- Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
- Wear a hat.
- Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
Prepare your home and family:
- Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off. For example, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
- Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
- Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Clear rain gutters, repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
- Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip slightly during cold weather to avoid freezing.
- Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
- Learn how to shut off water valves, in the case of a pipe bursting.
- Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends, neighbors or employees.
Prepare your car:
Check or have a mechanic check the following items on your car:
- Antifreeze levels: ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
- Battery and ignition system: should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
- Brakes: check for wear and fluid levels.
- Heater and defroster: ensure they are working properly.
- Lights and flashing hazard lights: ensure they are working properly.
- Gas tank: Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.