After living through the wildfire threats of October, I hope everyone signed up for emergency notifications systems and became prepared to evacuate their home on short notice. Thankfully, the snowfall during the last storms helped to get the wildfires under control. When we got the snow, were you then ready for the next set of potential issues and the possibility of losing power? Now is the time to make sure you are ready for any type of disruption in your life.
What are the possible sources of disruptions to your life and how can you prepare for them proactively? If you are prepared in advance with supplies at home, it will make your life easier when the weather is severe, roads are not safe to drive, or your power goes out. You may be home longer than you anticipated due to a storm causing multiple days of poor road conditions. Your communications including the internet, cable TV, cell phone service and land line service could all be affected.
What do you need to do? First be aware of the local weather reports and forecasts on the TV or internet sources. Winter weather related Warnings, Watches and Advisories are issued by the regional National Weather Service office and are based on local criteria. Below are the National Weather Service definitions and recommendations for these categories.
–Warnings: Take Action!
Winter Storm Warnings are issued for a significant winter weather event including snow, ice, sleet or blowing snow or a combination of these hazards. Travel will become difficult or impossible in some situations. Delay your travel plans until conditions improve.
Blizzard Warnings are issued for frequent gusts greater than or equal to 35 mph accompanied by falling and/or blowing snow, frequently reducing visibility to less than 1/4 mile for three hours or more. A Blizzard Warning means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely, leading to whiteout conditions making travel extremely difficult. Do not travel. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle and wait for help to arrive.
–Watches: Be Prepared
Winter Storm Watches are issued when conditions are favorable for a significant winter storm event (heavy sleet, heavy snow, ice storm, heavy snow and blowing snow or a combination of events.)
Blizzard Watches are issued when there is a potential for falling and/or blowing snow with strong winds and extremely poor visibilities. This can lead to whiteout conditions and make travel very dangerous.
–Advisories: Be Aware
Winter Weather Advisories are issued when snow, blowing snow, ice, sleet, or a combination of these wintry elements is expected but conditions should not be hazardous enough to meet warning criteria. Be prepared for winter driving conditions and possible travel difficulties. Use caution when driving.
So how do we prepare? Make a plan and stock up on necessary supplies beforehand.
Stocking your home with needed supplies and creating a preparedness plan is a great way to prepare for disruptions while decreasing your stress level.
Six things to consider:
1. Supplies and food on hand. And medication
2. Accommodations for outdoor pets?
3. How to stay warm if power goes out
4. Alternate power source, if available
5. Accessible phone service or cell service
6. How to stay safe and well
Below are great resources from the American Red Cross on preparedness for winter weather.
Winter storm safety tips – includes how to prepare, protecting your pets, protecting your home and what to do before the storm starts
The Lyons Prepared website has older Red Cross pamphlets that contain more detailed checklists for preparing for winter storms, power outages and for caring for pets during a disaster.
Pets and Disaster Safety Checklist:
Winter Storm Safety Checklist:
Power Outage Checklist:
We are lucky to have good weather resources in this area to alert us to weather conditions and possible storms headed our way. So, now get ready for winter!
This article is part of a series of educational outreach provided by your neighbors at Lyons Prepared, which is a volunteer citizen partnership with the Lyons Fire Protection District in the Lyons, Colorado area (map).
We are still looking for volunteers in some of our neighborhoods including Eagle Canyon, the Confluence and Apple Valley. If interested, please contact us at info@LyonsPrepared.com. Our web page is: https://sites.google.com/site/lyonsprepared/