Ready for Winter?

Are you prepared for winter? While the official season doesn’t begin until Dec. 21, temperatures will be on the decline. It’s imperative to take early initiative in preparing for cold weather, snow and ice.

Last year, Ohio and other Midwestern states had a pretty mild winter, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center, things will change this year. Forecasters say that La Nin᷈a will influence winter conditions, bringing wetter, cooler conditions to the northern United States resulting in more snow across Ohio and all of the Great Lakes.

Understanding forecast conditions can also help in the event of bad weather, local weather stations are the first line of defense in the event of a winter storm. Here are some tips offered by the American Red Cross for decoding forecast conditions:

  • Winter Storm Outlook – Winter storm conditions are possible in the next 2 to 5 days.
  • Winter Weather Advisory – Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.
  • Winter Storm Watch – Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions.
  • Winter Storm Warning – Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. People in a warning area should take precautions immediately.

According to the Seasonal Hazard Outlook by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), most of Ohio is forecast to experience above-average precipitation. Combined with cooler temperatures, motorists should be aware of ice this winter.

If snowy or icy conditions exist, traveling can get pretty hectic. Before getting on the road, pay attention to weather forecasts and traffic reports. Listen for reports of school and business closings, snow emergencies, traffic delays or road closures. Plan your travel time accordingly.

The good news, according to ODOT’s report is that Ohio is not projected to experience heating fuel shortages this winter and they do not anticipate a shortfall in road salt or brine supply.

Ohio EMA Executive Director Sima Merick says, “Winter Safety Week is the perfect time to start winterizing your homes and vehicles – to prepare before snow storms hit. If you don’t have an emergency supply kit, now is a good time to start one. You may find that you already have a lot of items on hand. Check the batteries in your flashlights and weather radios. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and conduct fire drills.”

The American Red Cross suggests the following items in preparing your emergency supply kit:

  • Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
  • Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc.)
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Sand, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery
  • Warm coats, gloves or mittens, hats, boots and extra blankets and warm clothing for all household members
  • Ample alternate heating methods such as fireplaces or wood- or coal-burning stoves

Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley – Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.