FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2014


Winter Weather Awareness Day on Nov. 19 focuses on preparing now for severe winter weather

Missourians encouraged to consider and prepare for all winter weather hazards when making their plans

This week's frigid temperatures and forecasts calling for accumulating snow are excellent reminders that it's time for Missourians to think about and prepare for severe winter weather. When winter does arrive, it will bring an assortment of potentially dangerous conditions that Missourians should be ready to deal with. That's why the National Weather Service has set Nov. 19 as Winter Weather Awareness Day.
"Missourians should always be mindful of the dangers associated with severe winter weather and be prepared for driving on snow and ice-covered roads, losing power and heat at home, and understanding frostbite and hypothermia," said Ron Walker, director of the State Emergency Management Agency.
Winter Weather Awareness Day is sponsored by the National Weather Service, along with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the State Emergency Management Agency and Missouri's emergency management directors.
Here are some of the winter storm preparations Missourians should make:
  • Create a family emergency plan and an emergency kit. These kits should include bottled water, canned and dry foods, battery-powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, manual can opener and a first-aid kit.

  • Assemble a separate vehicle winter emergency kit. Include a blanket, radio with spare batteries, snacks or energy-type food, jumper cables, flares, shovel and sand or shingles to give tires traction.

  • Make sure alternate heat and power sources, such as fireplaces, woodstoves, oil heaters and generators function properly, are safely operated and that adequate fuel is on hand. Carbon monoxide detectors should be properly installed throughout the home. Only operate generators outdoors.
  • Avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain or drizzle, snow or dense fog. If travel is necessary, make sure an emergency kit is in the vehicle, that cell phones are charged and important emergency numbers are saved for fast dialing in an emergency. If your vehicle breaks down or slides off the road, stay with your vehicle and call for help.

  • Protect against frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.

People should also be aware of the weather forecast and understand the different terms the National Weather Service uses when issuing winter weather advisories:
  • Winter Storm Watch indicates that severe winter weather may affect your area within 12-48 hours.

  • Winter Storm Warning indicates severe winter weather is in the area or expected immediately and can be life threatening.

  • Ice Storm Warnings are issued for ice accumulations of a quarter-inch or more.

Additional information about winter weather and preparedness tips can be found at the following websites:
Please contact your local NWS office for interviews about Winter Weather Awareness Day or for additional information: St. Louis: (636) 441-8467 Kansas City: (816) 540-6021 Springfield: (417) 869-4491 Paducah, Ky: (270) 744-6440 Photographs of Feb. 4, 2014 Missouri snow storm are available for use here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/missouridps/sets/72157640513060043

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For more information, call 573-751-5432 or e-mail mike.o'connell@dps.mo.gov