Whether you’re at work, commuting, or at home, being ready for harsh, frigid storms can lead comfort and even survival. November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month, and Nov. 7 to 11 is Winter Weather Preparedness Week. The week will culminate in a social media contest for Illinois residents.
“This is the ideal time to get ready for snow, ice, and brutal cold because Illinois weather can be pleasant one day, and a winter storm the next day,” said Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau.
“Each winter season, nearly 29,000 vehicle crashes occur in Illinois, producing 4,500 injuries and 80 fatalities. That is why it is imperative that people plan ahead and prepare for winter weather impacts,” added National Weather Service (NWS) Central Illinois Warning Coordination Meteorologist Edward Shimon.
State agencies have winter weather advice for people in the home and those at work, and the NWS has broken down preparedness topics to make it easy to prepare.
“Cold winter temperatures mean some Illinoisans will be using supplemental heating devices such as space heaters to stay warm. It’s important to follow the manufactures instructions, only use devices with an automatic shut off, and keep heating devices at least 3 feet from anything that can burn,” said Acting Illinois State Fire Marshal Dale Simpson. “It’s important to check your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors monthly to ensure they are working. If you need to use a generator during a power outage, only use them outdoors and away from windows.”
“Many frontline workers in Illinois are called upon to perform their duties in winter weather, facing environmental cold and other dangers and potentially putting their lives at risk. It is critical for employers and employees alike to prepare ahead of time and make winter safety a priority to minimize risks associated with winter weather hazards,” said Illinois Department of Labor Director Jane Flanagan. “Employers should ensure that individuals who work outdoors, from baggage handlers to construction workers, know the risk factors and warning signs of cold stress.”
Illinois is vulnerable to severe winter weather.
The greatest snowfall on record from a single storm was 27.9 inches measured near Waukegan in Lake County, from Jan. 3 to 5, 2015.
Average annual snowfall ranges from 37 inches of snow in Rockford and Chicago to as little as 6 to 10 inches at the southern tip of Illinois.
The NWS recommends that you spend time each day next week to learn more about one aspect of winter weather preparedness:
Monday, Nov. 7: Terminology—knowing the differences between a blizzard warning, winter storm warning, ice storm warning, winter weather advisory, etc.
Tuesday, Nov. 8: Ice and ice safety – Wide-ranging impacts of ice storms, the potential for power outages in the winter cold, etc.
Wednesday, Nov. 9: Snow and snow safety – How much snow can cause slippery roads, what blizzard conditions entail, etc.
Thursday, Nov. 10: Extreme cold and wind chill safety – Discover how quickly hypothermia can set in, how to recognize the signs of frostbite, etc.
Friday, Nov. 11: Travel—having a plan and getting information (gettingaroundillinois.com), vehicle preparedness for both optimal operation and a winter storm kit if stranded:
- Cell phone and charger
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Extra clothing
- Jumper cables
- Extra batteries
- Extra water
- High-calorie, non-perishable food
More winter preparedness tips can be found here:
On Friday, Nov. 11, IEMA is asking residents to “Show Us Your Trunk.” On that day, IEMA will share social media posts of photos of residents who have prepared a winter weather emergency bag for their vehicles. Two winners will be given NOAA weather radios, which will give those residents a direct link to the latest weather information.
More information on winter weather preparedness can be found here:
Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA): www.Ready.Illinois.gov