storms are worth serious consideration in Wisconsin. Blizzards,
heavy snow, freezing rain and sub-zero temperatures hit hard
and frequently across the state. Even if you think you are
safe and warm at home, a winter storm can become dangerous
if the power is cut off. With a little planning, you can protect
yourself and your family from the many hazards of winter weather,
both at home and on the road.
weather advisory. Formerly called a "travelers'
advisory," this alert may be issued by the National
Weather Service for a variety of severe conditions. Weather
advisories may be announced for snow, blowing and drifting
snow, freezing drizzle, freezing rain (when less than ice
storm conditions are expected), or a combination of weather
storm watch. Severe winter weather conditions may affect
your area (freezing rain, sleet or heavy snow may occur
either separately or in combination).
storm warning. Severe winter weather conditions are
rain or freezing drizzle. Rain or drizzle is likely
to freeze upon impact, resulting in a coating of ice glaze
on roads and all other exposed objects.
Small particles of ice, usually mixed with rain. If
enough sleet accumulates on the ground, it makes travel
warning. Sustained wind speeds of at least 35 miles
per hour are accompanied by considerable falling and/or
blowing snow. This is the most perilous winter storm, with
visibility dangerously restricted.
chill. A strong wind combined with a temperature slightly
below freezing can have the same chilling effect as a temperature
nearly 50 degrees lower in a calm atmosphere. The combined
cooling power of the wind and temperature on exposed flesh
is called the wind-chill factor.
a battery-powered radio and flashlights in working order;
stock extra batteries.
food that can be prepared without an electric or gas stove.
emergency water and cooking supplies.
candles and matches available in case of a power outage.
sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut
some kind of emergency heating equipment and fuel (a kerosene
heater, a gas fireplace or wood-burning stove or fireplace)
so you can keep at least one room of your house warm if
power is cut off. (See the fact sheet "Staying
Warm in an Unheated House.")
your car "winterized" with antifreeze. Carry a winter
car kit that includes a windshield scraper, flashlight, candle
and matches, tow chain or rope, shovel, tire chains, blanket,
extra mittens, bag of sand or salt, a fluorescent distress
flag and an emergency flare.
are isolated at home, listen to the radio or television for
updates on weather conditions. Conserve fuel by keeping your
house cooler than usual and by temporarily "closing off"
heat to some rooms. When emergency heating methods must be
used, maintain adequate ventilation to avoid build-up of toxic
fumes. (See the fact sheet, "Staying Warm in an Unheated
accordingly. Layer your clothing; many layers of thin clothing
are warmer than single layers of thick clothing. If you need
to go outdoors or the heat is off indoors, wear mittens; they
are warmer than gloves. Wear a hat; most body heat is lost
through the top of the head. Cover your mouth with scarves
to protect your lungs from directly inhaling extremely cold
snow isn't critical, don't do it. If you must shovel snow,
take your time and lift small amounts. Over-exertion can bring
on a heart attack - a major cause of death during and after
public transportation, if possible. Try not to travel
alone during a storm.
sure your vehicle is in good operating condition, winterized,
properly serviced and equipped with snow or all weather
tires. Be sure your headlights, taillights and windows
are clean so you can see and be seen.
to your radio for weather information.
fill your gas tank before entering open country, even for
short distances. You are less likely to get stranded
with a full tank. If you do get stranded, you will have
enough gas to run the motor and heat the vehicle.
someone know your departure time, expected arrival time
shelter immediately if the storm seems severe. Don't
carefully and defensively. Don't try to save time by
traveling faster than road and weather conditions permit.
carry spare fuel inside the vehicle or the trunk. Gasoline
fumes can build up and cause a violent explosion.
your vehicle becomes stalled or stopped in a winter storm,
follow these tips until help arrives.
calm and stay in your vehicle. Do not attempt to walk out
of a blizzard. You are much more likely to be found by staying
in your vehicle.
fresh air in your vehicle - especially if you are using
a candle, solid fuel or other type of heating device - to
prevent carbon monoxide build-up and oxygen starvation.
motor and heater sparingly and only with the down-wind window
open for ventilation. Make sure snow has not blocked the
on dome light at night. This helps make the vehicle visible
for work crews.
watch. Do not permit all occupants to sleep at once.
Clapping hands and moving arms and legs vigorously will
help keep you awake and improve circulation.
The National Weather Service and local radio stations, your county family living agent, the Wisconsin Division of Emergency Government, the Federal Emergency Management Agency
"Winter Travel Awareness"
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in
NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in
NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder.