The Grand Rapids Weather Examiner presents the third in a series from the National Weather Service (NWS) on Winter Weather Preparedness. The week of November 3 through 9 has been declared Winter Hazards Awareness Week in Michigan by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. All citizens are urged to learn more about protecting themselves, their families, and their homes during the winter season.
- Sunday - Winter summary from 2012-2013
- Monday - Cold weather and hypothermia
- Tuesday - Winter Weather Safety Tips for home and car
- Wednesday - Winter Survival Kits
- Thursday - Preparing your home for winter emergencies
- Friday - How snow and cold may affect your health
- Saturday - Understanding winter weather terms
This series continues with Winter Weather Safety Tips for home and car. Weather changes continually in Michigan, and the coming winter is likely to bring episodes of snow, ice, and bitter cold that will put stress on people, animals, and machines.
- To save heat, close off unneeded rooms, cover windows at night and stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.
- Maintain adequate food and water intake. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.
- Keep flashlights and a portable radio handy, along with extra batteries.
- Be prepared for the possibility of power outages, and stay informed on the latest weather developments by listening to NOAA weather radio or commercial news media.
- Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.
- Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
- Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.
- Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. Keep pets indoors in possible, especially if they are sensitive to the cold weather due to age, illness or breed type.
If travel is necessary:
- Use caution when driving in winter conditions. The highest rate of traffic crashes due to winter weather is in the month of November when the snow first starts to fall over Michigan.
- Inform someone of your destination and travel time. Bring a cell phone in case you must call for help.
- Driving becomes especially dangerous in snow and ice, so be sure to plan all trips carefully and listen to the latest weather forecasts.
- Visibility can be reduced dramatically as motorists drive into falling snow. Add to that the unseen hazard of ice on the roads and the shorter periods of daylight, and driving during the winter can often become treacherous. Now is the time to review driving habits and also take stock of safety supplies.
- Do not forget a first aid kit, non-perishable food, and blankets or sleeping bags. Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
- Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
If traveling during a power outage:
- Use extreme caution when driving. If traffic signals are out, treat each signal as a stop sign – come to a complete stop at every intersection and look for oncoming traffic before proceeding.
- Do not call 9-1-1 to ask about the power outage. Listen to news radio stations for updates and contact your electrical company.
If stranded in a vehicle:
- DO NOT leave your vehicle.
- DO NOT park under an overpass or bridge as this can trap deadly carbon monoxide fumes.
- Attach a bright cloth to your antenna to attract attention.
- Run the motor about 10 minutes each hour for heat. Open the window slightly for fresh air and make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked.
- Attract attention by turning on the dome light and emergency flashers when running the engine.
- To keep blood circulating and to stay warm, exercise by moving arms, legs, fingers and toes.
If stranded outside:
- Try to stay dry and cover all exposed parts of the body.
- Prepare a windbreak or snow cave for protection from the wind. Build a fire for heat and to attract attention.
- Do not eat snow because it will lower your body temperature. Melt it first.
- Listen to an All-Hazards NOAA Weather Radio or local radio, television and cable stations for the latest updates on hazardous winter weather.
- To ensure uninterrupted weather information, make sure the NOAA Weather Radio or other radio has a battery-operated backup and fresh batteries. A battery-operated TV is also another option.
- For All-Hazards NOAA Weather Radio information, including a station near you, visit the NOAA Weather Radio web site at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr or contact your National Weather Service office.
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