Fred Wilborn is covered in snow as he walks on the south side of Chicago. (AP Photo)

Fred Wilborn is covered in snow as he walks on the south side of Chicago. (AP Photo)

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If a Winter Storm Watch has been issued for your area, that means that hazardous winter weather conditions (such as snow greater than 6 inches in 24 hours, winds gusting over 35 mph, or visibilities less than 1/4 mile) are expected in the next 12 to 36 hours. You should prepare for the worst now:

At Home or Work

Make Sure You Have:

  • a working flashlight
  • battery powered NOAA weather radio, radio, or TV
  • extra food, water, medicine, and baby items
  • first aid supplies
  • heating fuel (propane, kerosene, fuel oil, etc ...)
  • emergency heating source
  • fire extinguisher and smoke detector
  • In Cars and Trucks:

  • fully check and winterize your vehicle
  • keep your gas tank near full
  • try not to travel alone
  • let a friend or relative know your timetable for travel
  • carry a Winter Storm Survival Kit which contain:
  • blankets/sleeping bags
  • flashlight with extra batteries
  • knife
  • high calorie, non-perishable food
  • a smaller can and water-proof matches to melt snow for drinking water
  • sand or cat litter
  • shovel
  • windshield scraper
  • tool kit
  • tow rope
  • jumper cables
  • water container
  • compass
  • road maps
  • On the Farm:

  • Move animals to sheltered areas
  • Haul extra feed to nearby feeding areas
  • Have a water supply available (most animal deaths in winter storms are from dehydration)
  • If a Winter Storm Warning has been issued for your area, that means that hazardous winter weather condition (such as snow greater than 6 inches in 24 hours, winds gusting over 35 mph, or visibilities less 1/4 mile) are expected within the next 12 hours or are already occurring.
  • If Caught Outside:

  • Find a dry shelter. Cover all exposed parts of the body
  • If shelter is not available:
  • Prepare a lean-to, wind break, or snow-cave for protection from the wind
  • Build a fire for heat and to attract attention. Place rocks around the fire to absorb and reflect heat.
  • Do not eat snow. It will lower your body temperature. Melt it first.
  • If Stranded in a Car or Truck:

  • Stay in your car or truck!
  • Run the motor about ten minutes each hour.
  • Open the windows a little for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide
  • poisoning. Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked.
  • Make yourself visible to rescuers:
  • Turn on the dome lights at night when running the engine
  • Tie a colored cloth to your antenna or door
  • Raise the hood after the snow stops falling
  • Exercise to keep blood circulating and to keep warm
  • At Home or in a Building:

  • Stay inside!
  • If there is no heat: Close off unneeded rooms
  • Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors
  • Cover windows at night
  • Eat and drink. Food provides the body with energy and heat. Fluids prevent dehydration
  • Wear layers of loose-fitting, light-weight, warm clothing
  • (Copyright 2000 by AccuWeather, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)


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