Winter Storm Safety

Winter storms create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. Winter storms and blizzards can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds. A winter storm can:

  • Last a few hours or several days;
  • Knock out heat, power, and communication services; and
  • Place older adults, young children, and sick individuals at greater risk.

For more information on how to prepare, visit the Ready.gov website and search for Winter Storm

  1. Forecasts & Warnings
  2. Isolation
  3. Overexertion
  4. Travel

A few hours of warning of a storm can be the key to avoiding being caught in it, or at least to be better prepared to cope with it. To take full advantage of weather forecasts and warnings, learn and understand terms commonly used:

  • A heavy snow warning usually means an expected snowfall of 4 inches or more in a 12- hour period, or 6 inches or more in a 24-hour period. Warnings of snow flurries, snow squalls, or blowing and drifting snow are important mainly because visibility maybe reduced and roads may become slippery or blocked.
  • A blizzard is the most dangerous of all winter storms. It combines cold air, heavy snow, and strong winds that blow the snow about and may reduce visibility for only a few yards. A blizzard warning is issued when the Weather Service expects considerable snow and winds of 35 miles per hour or more. A severe blizzard warning means that a very heavy snowfall is expected, with winds of at least 45 miles an hour and temperatures of 10 degrees or lower.
  • Freezing rain or freezing drizzle is forecast when expected rain is likely to freeze as soon as it strikes the ground, putting a coating of ice or glaze on roads and everything else that is exposed. If a substantial layer of ice is expected to accumulate from the freezing rain, an ice storm is forecast.
  • Sleet is small particles of ice, usually mixed with rain. If enough sleet accumulates on the ground, it will make the roads slippery