During snowstorm or blizzard, it is imperative to know the differences between watches and warnings in order to properly prepare or take the appropriate actions and stay safe.
Before any sort of wintry weather, a winter storm survival kit should be kept in a secure place in case of emergency. These kits should contain everything from blankets to flashlights with extra batteries, non-perishable food, waterproof matches, a shovel and windshield scraper, a tool kit, jumper cables, a water container, road maps and flares.
Winter Storm or Blizzard Watch
A winter storm watch is issued when wintry weather conditions are expected in the next 12 to 48 hours. This watch can be upgraded to a blizzard watch when snow and wind gusts of at least 35 mph will drop visibility to less than a quarter mile for three hours or longer.
To stay safe during this winter storm situation it is important that the necessary precautions are taken prior to the storm’s arrival. See the lists below, ordered by possible locations, to make sure your adequately prepared.
At Home or Work:
On a Farm:
In a Vehicle:
Winter Storm or Blizzard Warning
A winter storm or blizzard warning is more timely than just a watch. While the classifications for conditions are the same as a winter storm watch, a warning means that these conditions are expected within the next 12 hours or sooner.
When a winter storm warning is issued there is little or no time for preparations and as a result, safety is harder to ensure. See the tips below on what to do depending on your location during the warning.
At Home or in a Building:
If Caught Outside:
If Caught Outdoors Without Shelter:
If Stranded in a Vehicle: