Prepare for the Snow, it's Winter Weather Awareness Week - KMSP-TV

Prepare for the Snow, it's Winter Weather Awareness Week

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It's back!! Your good friends Old Man Winter and Mister Snow are going to be rolling back into the area… and maybe a little earlier than you wanted as Winter Storm Watches have already been issued this month, which makes it an epically good time to remind you about some winter weather safety. Winter weather is not at the top of the list for weather types that injure or kill the most Americans every year… those are floods, heat, and severe weather. But let's not make it atop that list. Arguably, the most dangerous part about the winter is driving. When snow falls and temperatures drop, the most dangerous place to be is in your vehicle; you can lose control and slide into just about anything that can cause a life threatening situation, and if you aren't prepared then the worst could happen. So ultimately, the best way for you to stay safe in winter is to BE PREPARED have a winter survival kit handy in your car. It doesn't need to be fancy… it can just be thrown in the trunk of your car. I do it every year around this time: I throw in a flashlight, batteries, shovel, 2 blankets, 2 jackets (1 light and 1 heavy so you can layer), gloves, hat, an extra pair of shoes and socks, and a couple granola bars. Remember, that this stuff is ON TOP of what is standard for winter driving like an ice scraper and jumper cables. Yes, it takes up some room in my trunk, but these have come in handy on several occasions. Just for example, 3 years ago I slid off the road and into a ditch. Instead of sitting there waiting for someone to find me, I added layers to my outfit, used the shovel to dig out my back tires, and managed to escape the ditch in about 25 minutes. I was then able to use my extra shoes and socks (and even pants that I happen to have) to change into dry close and then drive home. Not really sure what would have happened if I wasn't prepared.

So to be prepared for what winter throws at us, the National Weather service will be issuing watches and warnings for different winter weather situations. Below is a look at the FOX9 color scheme for each specific watch and warning and a list below of what each of them mean.

Winter Weather Advisory: Issued when you need to use extra caution because of snow, sleet, or freezing rain. These are the most used of the winter weather hazardous advisories generally when there is over 3 but less than 6 inches of snow expected or freezing rain and/or sleet that could cause travel difficulties but not be destructive to trees, power lines, or property. If an advisory is issued, you should take caution when traveling or completing outdoor activities

Winter Storm Watch: Severe weather conditions, including heavy snow, blowing snow, freezing rain and/or sleet, may soon affect your area. These are typically issued if there is the potential for 6 or more inches of snow or significant icing is expected. If a watch is issued for your area, you should pay special attention to future forecasts and statements, and begin to make safety preparations.

Winter Storm Warning: Severe winter weather conditions are occurring or are imminent. Most warnings are issued for heavy snow and wind, but may also be issued for ice and sleet storms. If a warning is issued for your area you should take immediate action to ensure the appropriate safety precautions have been taken. Plan on major travel difficulties during the storm and immediately following the storm until the plows can clear the roads and parking lots.

Blizzard Warning: Visibilities are reduced to less than 1/4 mile for several hours due to falling and/or blowing snow, making travel virtually impossible. The wind will be sustained at least 30 mph. If these are issued, you should plan on staying where you are during the duration of the storm and expect travel to be difficult or impossible in the hours following the storm until plows can clear the roads and parking lots.

Stay safe!!!

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