A major new winter storm is heading for the Midwest this weekend, which is expected to dump as much as 12 additional inches of snow in Central Indiana, starting sometime between late Saturday night and early Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Snow is expected to fall throughout the Midwest, spreading into parts of Tennessee and Alabama as well.
In addition to blowing snow that will likely create hazardous driving conditions, Indiana and other Midwestern states – including Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin – will also be hit by a deep freeze and sub-zero winds that will dunk temperatures into the minus teens and 20s, with wind chills making it feel as low as the minus 50s and 60s in some areas, warn meteorologists.
Forecasters are predicting historical record lows this weekend for much of the Midwest.
“It’s the mother lode of cold air,” Weather Channel coordinating meteorologist Tom Moore said. “On the heels of what will be the coldest air of the season, will be dangerous, life-threatening winds.”
According to Allstate, 70 percent of winter weather-related fatalities occur in an automobile, which makes this a good time for brushing up on some Winter Safety Tips that could potentially save your life and the lives of others.
First and foremost, keep in mind that even if you're just running out for a quick errand, the weather can turn unexpectedly bad, causing road conditions to rapidly deteriorate, and result in that "quick errand" turning into a potentially dangerous overnight ordeal.
Aside from the obvious dangers of slippery roads due to ice and snow, cars can also become stranded when temperatures dip below freezing, leaving you and any passengers stranded and stuck too.
It's therefore important to be prepared before you head out into potentially dangerous weather. Putting together a Winter Safety Kit with the following items stored in your car is an excellent first step to protect you and your loved ones in case your car gets stuck and stranded in freezing temperatures overnight:
- A blanket or sleeping bag
- A flashlight with extra batteries
- An extra winter coat, mittens and a wool cap
- A portable radio with spare batteries
- A small shovel
- Bottled water (at least four quarts)
- Cellphone and charger
- Chemical hand and body warmer packets
- Emergency flares
- First-aid kit
- Flagging tape
- Folding knife and multi-tool
- Jumper cables
- Nylon cord
- Small candles with waterproof matches
- Snack foods (e.g. energy bars, nuts, dried foot, etc.)
- Toilet Paper
- Tire chains and rock salt (sand or kitty litter are also good for added traction)
- Winter boots
A few other tips:
- Do not run your car constantly in order to prevent snow from getting into the exhaust pipe. Instead, run the car for brief 20 minute intervals to warm up before turning the engine off again.
- Also roll down a window just low enough to allow the car to ventilate. This will help prevent carbon monoxide from building up.
- While waiting for help to arrive, use blankets, extra coats and other warming items from your Winter Safety Kit to keep warm.