Winter Weather Awareness Week underway
CHARLESTON — The effects of hazardous winter weather have already been felt as a mid-November winter storm brought power outages, slick driving conditions and closed schools and businesses for parts of the state. The early arrival of winter should remind all West Virginians that now is the time to prepare for whatever winter may bring and the National Weather Service along with the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management have designated Dec. 3-7 as Winter Weather Awareness Week.
“Winter can be an especially challenging time in West Virginia as cold weather brings its own unique concerns and dangers,” said Michael Todorovich, director of the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “That’s why it’s important for all West Virginians to prepare now, before any potential harmful effects of winter make their way into the Mountain State. Our Winter Weather Awareness Week is a perfect time to implement family plans, develop emergency kits, or even winterize your home or vehicle to prepare for what may come this season.”
One of the best ways West Virginians can prepare for the winter ahead is by putting together a basic emergency kit. A basic emergency kit should have a three day supply of food, water and medicine, along with the essential supplies your family will need in the event of a prolonged power outage when travel is not possible. More advice on what to include in an emergency kit for your family can be found at ready.gov/build-a-kit.
Know the risks your community faces and monitor weather forecasts. When a winter storm is in the forecast, communicate with family members and know their location and travel plans. Make sure all family members are able to get emergency alerts.
While the best idea is to just stay home during winter storms, sometimes that’s not possible. Winterize your vehicle and keep an emergency kit in your car. “It is not unusual for conditions to vary from no snow and clear driving in the valleys to piles of snow and treacherous travel conditions in the mountains,” said Tony Edwards, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston. “Travelers should make sure to check the forecast and road conditions all along their route, not just at their destination.” The West Virginia Department of Transportation urges you to “know before you go” by checking traffic and road closure information at wv511.org before heading out the door.
Winter Weather Awareness Week is a perfect time for families, communities, schools and businesses to review their plans and to build or resupply their emergency kits. To help that effort, the National Weather Service offices that serve the state of West Virginia will share winter weather preparedness information throughout the week via the web, Facebook and Twitter. Partner organizations and the media are also encouraged to participate and the National Weather Service has made various winter weather preparedness articles, infographics and social media plans available for use on the West Virginia Winter Awareness website.
Additional preparedness information for all hazards can be accessed on the ReadyWV! webpage.