Just over a week ago, thousands of Atlanta students were stranded all night long in their schools before being reunited with their parents. Rescuers rushed to deliver blankets, food, gas and a ride home to countless shivering motorists stopped cold by a storm that paralyzed the business capital of the South with less than 3 inches of snow. Here in the Rocky Mountain region, 3 inches of snow is merely an inconvenience, however, a lesson can be learned about the need to be prepared for severe weather in any region.
Our partners at The Hartford shared that severe winter weather can occur in many forms: rain, sleet, ice, snow, and hail or any combination. A change of only a few degrees can often make the difference between a rainy winter day and a severe winter storm.
Severe winter storms can be local or cover large areas of the country; they may vary with intensity, depending on location. Their residual effects can hamper local or distant services critical to you. Store shelves can be wiped out of food and supplies within hours.
Winter storms can knock out power, heat and communication to your home or business, sometimes for many days. A severe storm can immobilize an entire region.
Storms can also occur back-to-back in quick succession, providing little time to recover from one storm before the next one strikes.
In addition to a 2-week supply of food and water, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that you take the following winter weather safety steps to prepare for storms:
- Add these supplies to your emergency kit: rock salt or other ice-melt, sand to improve traction, snow shovels and other snow-removal equipment, sufficient heating fuel, and adequate clothing and blankets to stay warm.
- Make a family communication plan. In case you’re not together when a storm hits, you need to know how to get in touch with each other and come up with plans, just in case.
- Pay attention to local TV and radio station for important updates from the National Weather Service and be alert to changing weather conditions.
- Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your car.
- Bring pets inside during bad winter weather. Move other animals to sheltered areas where they have access to non-frozen drinking water.
You can take the Pledge to be Prepared on the FEMA website here.
Keep your eye on the weather, be prepared, and stay safe!