It’s Winter Preparedness Week; Are You Ready?
Posted at 11 a.m.
Winters in Virginia often are cold, snowy and icy and can bring power outages. To highlight the importance of being winter-ready, the National Weather Service and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management have set aside this week, Nov. 30 – Dec. 6 as Winter Preparedness Week.
Last week’s snow was a gentle reminder that whether we are ready or not, we do have the chance for snow — as well as ice and freezing temperatures — throughout the winter months.
Although the current National Weather Service (NWS) winter outlook indicates Virginia could have a less severe winter than last season, you still need to be sure to have emergency plans and supplies are in place.
“A significant winter storm is possible any winter in Virginia, even during those winters with overall temperatures near or above normal,” said Bill Sammler, NWS warning coordination meteorologist. “If the El Nino weather pattern happens as expected, then Virginia residents should anticipate storminess and a wetter than normal winter overall. El Nino winters are generally not snowier, but they can be, if atmospheric conditions are right. A recent example is the 2009-10 winter.”
During Winter Preparedness Week, take these preparedness steps:
Make a Kit
Basic emergency supplies include:
Three days’ food that doesn’t need refrigeration or electricity to prepare it.
Three days’ water (a gallon per person per day).
A battery-powered and/or hand-crank radio with extra batteries.
A first-aid kit, prescription medications, blankets and warm clothing, and supplies for special members of your household and pet items.
A power pack for recharging cellphones and other mobile devices.
For businesses and offices, keep some bottles of water and food bars on hand.
Have a radio to hear local information about whether or not it is safe to travel. Officials may advise staying in place until it is safe to travel.
Be sure to keep an emergency kit in your car as well.
Make a Plan
Everyone needs an emergency plan:
Decide who your out-of-town emergency contact will be. Where will you meet up with family members if you can’t return home?
Get an emergency plan worksheet at www.ReadyVirginia.gov or on the new Ready Virginia app.
Visit ReadyNoVa.org and create a family emergency plan or an emergency plan for your business.
Before, during and after a winter storm, you should:
Listen to local media for information and instructions from our emergency management and public safety officials.
Be aware of winter storm watches and warnings and road conditions.
Get road condition information 24/7 by calling 511 or checking www.511Virginia.org.
If you do have to travel, remember to get where you need to be before the weather gets bad.