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A car covered in ice during the winter.

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Winter is upon us, which means so is the threat of winter storms. Alabama Extension offers recommendations for staying safe and preparing for possible snow and ice, power outages and other impacts from severe winter weather conditions.

Winter Storms

Winter weather in the South involves cold temperatures, ice and possible snow accumulation. Even if the amounts are relatively light, ice and snow on roads can cause hazardous road conditions. Drivers should exercise extreme caution when traveling in winter conditions, preparing for snow/ice covered roads and limited visibility.

When temperatures dip into the teens, cold air masses result in hard freezes. Wind chills are also often hazardous, as they sometimes reach into the single digits.

When facing winter weather conditions, remember the following tips.

  • Listen to a weather radio (NOAA, National Weather Service, etc.) for updates.
  • Run water, even at a trickle, to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • In extremely cold temperatures, seek retreat at a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat.
  • Avoid driving in conditions of sleet, freezing rain, snow or dense fog.
  • Keep an emergency supply kit in your vehicle in case travel is necessary.

Power Outages

Everyone should be prepared in the case of a power outage. Keep the following in mind to be prepared in the situation of a loss of electricity.

  • Know where your flashlight and batteries are located.
  • If you have a gas heater, ensure that it is in good working condition.
  • Keep generators in order, and keep a supply of fuel for them.
  • Insulate exposed pipes to prevent freezing or breaking.
  • Ensure you have access to a first aid kit and fire extinguisher.
  • Keep up a stock of food and water supplies.
  • Keep your car’s fuel tank full.

Emergency Handbook

For more information about winter weather, Alabama Extension has the Emergency Handbook, a comprehensive resource for emergency planning, preparation and storm recovery. The handbook is available on the Alabama Extension website, or as a free iBook, available on the Apple iTunes stores.

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