Preparing for winter storms is crucial to your safety. As such, it’s important to become familiar with winter storm warning signals and appropriate prevention measures so that you can avoid cold weather injuries.
Winter Weather Warnings
Familiarize yourself with the following weather alerts in order to know what actions you may need to take:
- Winter storm watch—Be alert, because a storm is likely.
- Winter weather advisory—Experts expect conditions to cause significant hazards, especially to motorists.
- Frost/freeze warning—Experts expect below-freezing temperatures and potential damage to plants or crops.
- Winter storm warning—Take action, because a storm is entering—or is already in—the local area.
- Blizzard warning—A combination of snow and strong winds will produce blinding snow, minimal visibility, deep drifts and life-threatening temperatures. Seek refuge immediately.
Preventing Cold Weather Injuries
To prevent serious injuries from extreme cold, do the following:
- Select proper clothing for cold, wet and windy conditions, and layer clothing when possible, making sure to include layers that repel moisture away from the skin.
- Take frequent breaks in warm, dry shelters whenever possible.
- Avoid overexerting yourself, as your body needs this energy to keep your muscles warm.
- When you know you will be exposed to extreme cold, prepare yourself warm beverages to drink and high-calorie foods to consume. However, avoid drinks containing caffeine or alcohol.
Other Winter Storm Hazards
Be on the lookout for the following winter storm hazards:
- Adverse driving conditions, such as low visibility and slippery roadways
- Icy walkways and sidewalks, which could cause slips and falls
- Falling objects, like icicles, tree limbs and utility poles
- Electrocution due to downed power lines or downed objects in contact with power lines
- Exhaustion, dehydration and back injuries from conducting manual labor in the snow
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