Winter Weather Warnings -
Know the difference.
- The National Weather Service expects considerable snow and wind of
35 miles per hour or more. visibility can be so poor that you will not
be able to see more than a few yards. A blizzard is most dangerous of
all winter storms.
Travelers Advisory -
Indicates falling, blowing or drifting snow, freezing rain or drizzle,
sleet, or strong winds can make driving difficult but not serious
enough to require a warning.
Winter Storm Warning -
Means heavy snow, sleet or freezing rain is expected.
Winter Storm Watch - Means
severe winter weather is possible.
Preparing for a Winter
On average, a major winter storm hits some part of Michigan at least
once per month between October and April. In 2007, the last year
that statistics were available, 38 people died in Michigan as a
direct result of severe winter weather according to the Michigan
Department of Community Health. This is in addition to victims of
traffic crashes due to slippery roads and those who suffered heart
attacks while shoveling snow.
Keep handy a
battery-powered flashlight, NOAA weather radio and portable radio,
extra food (canned or dried food is best), can opener, and bottled
water (at least 3 gallons per person).
Make sure each
member of household has a warm coat, gloves, hat and water-resistant
Ensure that extra
blankets and heavy clothes are available.
Keep on hand
items for infant, elderly or disabled family members.
Keep on hand items for
your pets. Animals feel the effects of wind chill. Be sure to
have suitable shelter with food and water.
Be aware of
potential fire and carbon monoxide hazards if you plan to use an
emergency heating source such as a fireplace, wood stove or space
In a vehicle:
A small battery powered
radio (AM is sufficient) and extra batteries
Flashlight with extra
Blanket and extra
Bottled water and
nonperishable, high energy foods (granola bars, canned nuts,
raisins, hard candy, trail mix, peanut butter and crackers)
First aid kit
Tire repair kit and pump
Tow chain or rope
Phone book and phone
De-Icer and extra
Police” or other “Help”
If travel is
- Use caution when driving in winter
conditions. The highest rate of traffic crashes due to
winter weather is in the month of November when the snow first
starts to fall over Michigan.
Let someone know
your destination and arrival time.
along a cell-phone in case you must call for help.
- If traveling and
the power goes out:
- Use extreme
caution when driving. If traffic signals are out, treat
each signal as a stop sign - come to a complete stop
at every intersection and look for oncoming traffic before
- Do not call 9-1-1
to ask about the power outage. Listen to news radio
stations for updates and contact your electrical company.
overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car, or
walking in deep snow. Sweating could lead to chill and hypothermia.
Cold weather also puts extra strain on the heart, so the elderly and
those with heart conditions should be especially cautious when out
in the cold.
Walk carefully on
snowy, icy sidewalks.
loose-fitting, lightweight warm clothing in layers with a waterproof
outer layer. Wear wool hat
Keep your clothes
dry. Change wet socks and clothing quickly to prevent loss of body
hazards of wind chill. As wind speed increases, heat is carried away
from a person’s body more rapidly.
During a Winter Storm
- To save heat,
close off unneeded rooms, cover windows at night and stuff towels or
rags in cracks under doors.
adequate food and water intake. Food provides the body with energy
for producing its own heat.
If stranded in a vehicle:
Attach a bright
cloth to your antenna to attract attention and then remain in the
Run the motor
about 10 minutes each hour for heat. However, open the window
slightly for fresh air and make sure that the exhaust pipe isn't
by turning on the dome light and emergency flashers when running the
To keep blood
circulating and to stay warm, exercise by
moving arms, legs, fingers and toes.
If stranded outside:
Try to stay dry
and cover all exposed parts of the body.
windbreak or snow cave for protection from the wind. Build a fire
for heat and to attract attention.
Do not eat snow.
It will lower your body temperature. Melt it first.
To ensure uninterrupted
weather information, make sure the NOAA Weather Radio or other radio
has a battery-operated backup and fresh batteries. A
battery-operated TV is also another option.
For All-Hazards NOAA
Weather Radio information, including a station near you, visit the
NOAA Weather Radio web site at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr or
contact your National Weather Service office.
7 Safety Tips For
- Make sure your
car is in good condition and properly serviced
- Maintain a full
tank of gas
- Have an
Emergency Winter Storm Kit in your car
- Travel in pairs
if possible. If alone make sure someone knows your route.
- Drive with all
- Travel by
daylight and use major highways if you can. Keep car radio tuned in
for weather information
- Don't be daring
and foolhardy. When storm conditions worsen rapidly, seek refuge
You DO Get Into Trouble
Don't panic. Think
the problem through, do what is best slowly and carefully.
If a storm traps
you, pull off the road, remain in car, open a window, do not run car
continuously, clear snow from exhaust pipe periodically, beware of
carbon monoxide poisoning.
directional lights to flashing, raise the hood of your car, hang a
cloth from your antenna.
Wait for help to
arrive, DO NOT try to walk through a blizzard, getting lost can mean
almost certain death.
Winter Emergency Storm Kit
- Road Salt
- Booster Cables
- Tow Chain or
Operated Radio & Extra Batteries
- Tool Kit
- Extra Weather
Winter Storm Frequently Asked
is wind chill?
Wind chill is
the perceived temperature resulting from the effect of wind, in
combination with cold air, which increases the rate of heat loss
from the human body. More information including the wind chill chart
can be found at:
is frostbite and what can you do to treat it?
damage to body tissue caused by that tissue being frozen. Frostbite
causes a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in
extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, or the tip of the
nose. Frostbite varies in severity from frostnip to deep frostbite,
depending on the length of exposure, temperature to which the skin
is exposed and wind speed. For frostnip, place firm, steady pressure
from a warm hand against the area. Also, blow on the surface holding
the frostnipped area against the body. Do not rub the area, apply
snow or plunge it into very hot or cold water. Victims of severe
frostbite must receive prompt medical attention.
is hypothermia and what are the warning signs?
occurs when the body temperature drops to 95 degrees F. or lower. It
can develop whenever body heat loss exceeds heat gain. Hypothermia
is not exclusive to winter. It can occur during the wind and rain of
spring and summer. Hypothermia is often mistaken for fatigue,
irritability, or dehydration and may include some of these signs:
abnormal decision making; improper response to cold; apathy,
lethargy; decreased cooperation; slurred speech; disorientation;
shivering; stumbling; and stiffness progressing to inability to
do you treat hypothermia?
moderate hypothermia (body temperature greater than 90 degrees F.,
conscious, shivering, able to walk):
heat loss. Dry, remove from cold and insulate.
Rewarm by warming
the body core first. Rehydrate with warm broth.
severe hypothermia (body
temperature less than 90 degrees F., unconscious, not shivering):
hypothermia (body temperature less than 90 degree F., unconscious,
are the various winter weather warnings and advisories?
A winter storm
watch indicates that severe winter weather conditions may affect
your area in the next 12 to 48 hours.
A winter storm
warning indicates that severe winter conditions are imminent. There
are a variety of warnings including, ice storm warning, lake effect
snow warning, and winter storm warning..
A winter storm
warning for heavy snow generally indicates in the Lower
Peninsula: snowfalls of at least 6" in
12 hours or 8" in a 24-hour period. In the Upper
Peninsula; snowfalls of at least 8" in 12 hours and 10" in a 24-hour period.
are issued when sustained wind speeds or frequent gusts of at least
35 miles per hour are accompanied by considerable falling and/or
blowing snow for at least 3 hours. Visibility is greatly reduced during a blizzard.
issued when snowfalls are expected to be hazardous, but less than
warning criteria. This generally indicates in the Lower
Peninsula: 4-5" are expected in a 12-hour period. In the Upper
Peninsula, 4 to 7" of snow are anticipated in that same time period.
Sleet is rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground.
Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and become slippery.
Michigan Winter Hazards Awareness Packet
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