Preparing in advance for winter weather

Published on Tue, Nov 20, 2012
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Winter storms can range from long, drawn-out drizzles to severe snow blizzards, but no matter what the conditions may be, the time to prepare for winter is beforehand.

The Whatcom County Emergency Management offers the following preparation tips to deal with inclement weather.

Be prepared for the worst:

Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio and television stations for weather reports and emergency information: 

- A winter storm watch means severe weather may affect your area. 

- A winter storm warning means severe weather conditions are imminent. 

- A blizzard warning means large amounts of snow and high winds are expected for several hours.

Dress in layers–wear gloves or mittens and a hat.

Avoid overexertion and watch for signs of hypothermia or frostbite. If you are at risk for either, don’t consume caffeine or alcohol as they both hasten the effects of cold on the body.

Conserve fuel by keeping your house colder than normal – wear a sweater to stay warm.

Refuel kerosene heaters outside, and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects while in use.

Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods that don’t require refrigeration or cooking.

Keep a first-aid kit in a central, easy to access location.

Keep a plenty of drinking water on hand – at least three gallons per person.

Get a good set of winter tires, or keep snow chains in your vehicle. A bucket of sand in the trunk or truck bed is also a good idea. The extra weight can help maintain tire contact with the road, and sand can be spread over icy sections to improve traction.

For more tips on winter preparedness, visit the Whatcom County Emergency Management at