Winters in Virginia can mean snow or subfreezing temperatures, as well as strong winds or even ice or heavy rain storms. Winter weather can knock out heat, power and communications services to your home or office, sometimes for days at a time.
Audio: Listen to quick winter safety tips [mp3 823 kb]
Prepare for Winter Weather
- Make sure your home is well insulated and that you have weather stripping around your doors and window sills to keep the warm air inside.
- Know some of the terms that are used to describe winter weather.
- Freezing Rain creates a coating of ice on roads and walkways.
- Sleet is rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground, causing roads to freeze and become slippery.
- Winter Weather Advisory: cold, ice and snow are expected.
- Winter Storm Watch: severe weather, such as heavy snow or ice, is possible in the next day or two.
- Winter Storm Warning: severe winter conditions have begun or will begin very soon.
- Blizzard Warning: heavy snow and strong winds will produce a blinding snow, near zero visibility, deep drifts and life-threatening wind chill.
- Ice Storm Warning: freezing rain will produce ¼” or more of ice, a possibly damaging accumulation that could pull down trees and utility lines
- Frost/Freeze Warning: below-freezing temperatures are expected.
- Thoroughly check and update your family's emergency supply kit before winter approaches.
- Include adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
- If you have a car, fill the gas tank in case you have to leave.
- Plan to stay inside and make it on your own, at least for a period of time.
- If you have a wood burning fire place, consider storing wood to keep you warm if winter weather knocks out your heat.
- If you use a generator or space heater, practice proper safety procedures.
- Learn more about getting ready for winter weather
Winter Driving Tips
- Make a Car Emergency Kit: Because You Never Know.
- View winter driving tips http://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=v8Z9nelruyQ
- Visit http://www.virginiadot.org/programs/faq-winterdrive.asp for winter driving tips.
Know the Road Conditions Before You Leave
- http://www.511virginia.org or dial 511 from any phone for real-time traffic information and road condition reports.
- Or visit http://www.virginiadot.org for the latest road reports or listing of closed roads during a major winter weather event.
Holiday Safety Tips
- Holiday Safety Tips [doc]
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed of winter weather watches and warnings.
- Also monitor commercial radio, television and the Internet.
- Keep in mind that during a severe winter storm it could be hours, or even days, before emergency personnel are able to reach you.
- Learn about health safety during cold weather.
- National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/winter/index.shtml