Checklist - How To Prepare For Winter Storms

The Onset of Winter Storms

Winter stormEver wanted to get up tomorrow first thing and run outside to play in the snow as opposed to just sitting in a homeroom or office? Winter storms now and again bring about days off, where the weather patterns make travel and exposure to cold air excessively unsafe for standard everyday activities.

A winter storm is a climate occasion where the precipitation is chiefly snow, sleet, or freezing rain. Frequently combined with strong and below-freezing temperatures, winter storms can be hazardous. Now, the question is, how does a winter storm form and begin in the first place?

A significant winter storm can keep going for a few days and be joined by high winds, freezing rain or sleet, heavy snowfall, and cold temperatures. We can become caught at home without utilities or different services. Heavy snowfall and snowstorms (or blizzards) can trap drivers in their cars.

Attempting to stroll or walk for help in a snowstorm may potentially be a dangerous choice. As such, winter storms can make driving and strolling very unsafe. The consequence of a winter storm can affect a local area or district for days, weeks, or even months.

Storm effects like very old temperatures and snow accumulation, and now and again waterfront or coasting flooding, can cause hazardous conditions and unforeseen issues for individuals in the impacted region.

Winter storms can go from moderate snow for a couple of hours to blizzards conditions with blinding wind-driven snow that endures a few days. Some winter storms might be sufficiently enormous to influence a few states, while others might influence just a single locality. Many winter storms are joined by low temperatures and heavy as well as blowing snow, which can seriously diminish visibility.

Winter storms can be characterized contrastingly in different parts of the country. Heavy snow in the south can be a dusting in the mountains. To anticipate such, check with your local emergency office, National Weather Service (NWS) office, or local American Red Cross for terms and definitions intended for your area.

On the one hand, sleet is raindrops that freeze into ice pellets prior to arriving on the ground. Sleet normally bounces while hitting a surface and doesn't adhere to objects; in any case, it can gather like snow and cause a hazard to drivers.

On the other hand, freezing rain is a downpour that falls onto a surface with a temperature below freezing; this makes it stick to surfaces, like trees, vehicles, and streets, shaping a glaze of ice. Indeed, even little groups of ice can cause a huge danger.

Lastly, an ice storm happens when freezing precipitation falls and freezes promptly on impact; communication lines and power can be down for a really long time, and, surprisingly, little collections of ice might make outrageous risks to motorists and pedestrians.

Now, let's get past the basics. In this article, we will get into detail about the different types of winter storms, winter weather advisories, and warnings, as well as the different preparations you can make prior to the storm. What's more, we will also talk about the do's and don't's of before, during, and after a winter storm.

The Different Types of Winter Storms

Winter season, Winter storm, ColdWinter storms start with moist air ascending into the atmosphere, which is important for cloud formation and precipitation, very much like for different sorts of storms. Rising air is normal at a cold front, where warm air is lifted above cool air, and can likewise occur as air climbs a huge slope or mountain.

A source of moisture, for example, air blowing across a huge lake or sea and getting water vapor, is fundamental for clouds and precipitation to frame in the first place. And then, finally, a winter storm is different from other storms because of its cold air feature.

Below-freezing air temperatures close to the ground and up to the clouds will make precipitation fall as one or the other snow or ice. In any case, very cold air can't hold as much dampness and, in this manner, won't make a lot of snow.

Now, what do we know about the different types of winter storms? Certainly, blizzards are one type of winter storm; meanwhile, blizzards are snowstorms with high winds, and lake effect storms are snow storms that structure close to the Great Lakes. Ice storms can bring freezing rain or sleet along with the snow.

Listed below are the different types of winter storms:


A storm where precipitation falls as snow is known as a snowstorm. In the colder time of year, most precipitation structures as snow inside the mists since temperatures at the highest point of the tempest are adequately cold to make snowflakes.

Snowflakes are simply assortments of frozen ice crystals that structure as water vapor gathers into water drops and freezes. These ice crystals stay together as they fall toward the ground, shaping snowflakes.

On the off chance that the air temperature stays at or beneath 0℃ (32°F) between the cloud and the ground, the precipitation will fall as snow. In the event that the air close to the ground is above freezing, the precipitation will melt to form rain or freezing rain.

Furthermore, a snowstorm where there is no gathering past a light dusting of snow is known as a snow flurry. A brief snowstorm with snow falling at varying intensity and some accumulation is known as a snow shower. Assuming the snow showers are joined by strong gusts of wind and aggregation of heaps of snow, they are called snow squalls.


A blizzard is an extreme snowstorm characterized by the strength of its breezes as opposed to how much snow it brings. With wind speeds at or over 56 kph (35 mph), blizzards make blowing snow conditions where snow on the ground is gotten by the breeze, causing decreased perceivability and the collection of snowdrifts.

Typically, a blizzard goes on for at least three (3) hours and frequently prompts the gathering of loads of snow, either as new snowfall or as a rearrangement of recently fallen snow.

Lake Effect Storms

Most blizzards structure because of low-pressure systems that lift damp air into the air, yet lake effect storms structure because of the overflow of moisture from the Great Lakes.

At the point when cold, dry air from the north passes over the Great Lakes region, it gets a lot of water fume, which gathers and falls back to the ground as heavy snowstorms in the areas south and east of the lakes.

Ice Storms

An ice storm is a winter storm that accumulates up to no less than 6.35 mm (0.25 inch) of ice on every single open-air surface. The ice shapes a smooth layer on the ground that can make driving and strolling perilous and can cause branches and powerlines to snap because of the heaviness of the ice.

There are various kinds of icy winter weather, still up in the air by the temperature of air masses in the storm. Sleet forms occur when the snowflakes falling toward the surface initially pass through a layer of air that is above freezing, which makes the snowflakes to some extent soften, and afterward go through a layer of air that is below freezing, which makes the snowflakes re-freeze into pellets of ice.

Like sleet formation, freezing rain structures when precipitation (either rain or snow) goes through a layer of hotter air, permitting it to become rain, and afterward through a layer of a lot colder air.

In any case, this time, the downpour can't re-freeze as it falls through the shallow layer of freezing air close to the surface. The downpour is supercooled through this cycle and freezes in a flash upon contact with cold surfaces.

Winter Weather Advisory: Winter Storm Warning

Winter storms frequently make conditions where exposure to the outdoors and travel become risky because of cold temperatures, wind, snow, or ice. Check your local forecast for data about winter storms in your space and watch the weather conditions prior to heading outside throughout the winter weather months.

The National Weather Service issues weather conditions cautions for regions that ought to get ready for blizzards, snowstorms, wind chill, lake effect storms, and ice storms in view of three levels of storm likelihood:

  1. Winter Weather Warning

    Take action. All things considered, a winter storm will impact your region. Be ready for heavy snow or ice, strong winds, and freezing temperatures that will make travel and outside exposure hazardous.

  2. Winter Weather Watch

    Be prepared. Conditions are ideal for a winter storm in your space, and there is the potential for serious winter weather. On the off chance that a winter storm hits your region, be ready for heavy snow or ice, strong winds, and freezing temperatures that might make travel and outside exposure risky.

  3. Winter Weather Advisory

    Be aware. Winter weather conditions should be expected; however, they won't be adequately severe enough to meet advanced warning levels. Practice alertness and caution while traveling and stay away from prolonged exposure to the outdoors.

Planning for a Winter Storm

  1. PlanningDeveloping a Family Disaster Plan

    Developing a family disaster plan will help you and other family members to react better when the winter storm comes.

    • Firstly, comprehend the risks of wind chill, which joins the cooling effect of wind and cold temperatures on exposed skin. As the wind increases, heat becomes out of hand from an individual's body at a sped-up rate, driving down the internal body temperature level. "Wind chill" is an estimation of how cold it feels when the effects of wind speed and temperature are joined. A strong wind joined with a temperature just beneath freezing can have a similar impact as a still air temperature around 35 degrees colder.

    • Next, service snow removal equipment before the winter storm season. It ought to be accessible for use if necessary. Of course, you should maintain it in good working order.

    • Keep your car's fuel tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.

    • Get training such as the American Red Cross medical aid course to figure out how to treat exposure to the cool, frostbite, and hypothermia.

    • Discuss with your family what to do in the event that a winter storm WATCH or WARNING is issued. Assign one family member as the winter storm preparedness leader. Have that person examine what to do on the off chance that a winter storm watch or warning is given.

    • While you're at it, have another family member dictate what the person would do in the event that anyone gets caught outside or in a vehicle throughout a winter storm. Everybody ought to understand what to do in case all family members are not together. Examining winter storms quite a bit early lessens dread and tells everybody how to answer throughout a winter storm.

  2. Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit

    Winter Storm-specific supplies should include the following:

    • A warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat, and water-resistant boots for each member of the family.

    • Extra blankets and warm clothing.

    • Non-clumping kitty litter. Kitty litter will generate temporary traction. Rock salt will melt ice on walkways but can damage vegetation and concrete. Other, less damaging, ice-melting products are available from building supply stores.

    • Disaster Supplies Kit basics.

  3. Protect your Property

    Protecting your property will not only cost you the trouble of repair and labor fees but will also give you and your family the shelter that you'll need during a winter storm. First, insulate walls and attic to conserve electricity and reduce your home's power demands for heat.
    Next, install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside to get an extra layer of insulation, keeping more cold air out. And then you can also keep pipes from freezing by (a) wrapping pipes in insulation or layers of old newspapers, (b) covering them using plastic to keep out the moisture, (c) letting faucets drip to decrease the chances of freezing, and (d) knowing how to properly shut off water valves.

    However, in case of the pipes freeze, remove any insulation pieces and just wrap them up in rags. To go further, you should consider storing sufficient heating fuel. Just be cautious of fire hazards when storing any type of fuel.
    And then, right before winter, make sure to check smoke alarms. In line with that, keep safe emergency heating equipment such as fireplaces, camp stoves, portable space heaters, etc. In addition to that, you should use fire safeguards and ventilate properly to decrease fire hazards.
    In another aspect, installing snow fences in rural areas to reduce drifting in roads and paths is also a good idea. If you live in a flood-prone area, perhaps purchasing flood insurance to cover possible flood damage is likewise a good preparation.



Before a winter storm, use NOAA Weather Radio with a tone-ready feature to keep you educated regarding watches and warnings given in your area. And then contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross for information on designated public shelters in case you lose power or heat.


During a winter storm, listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for updated information. Be cautious and know about changing weather conditions. Extreme weather conditions can happen rapidly.

Moreover, move animals or pets to sheltered areas while ensuring that they get adequate food and water supply. At this time, stay indoors to avoid winter-related accidents along the road.

Moreover, it is advisable to listen to a battery-powered radio or television for updated emergency information. More importantly, eat regularly as food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat. You should also keep yourself dehydrated with water, warm broth, or juices.

Another thing to note is to conserve fuel. Since winter storms can last for a few days, electric, gas, and other fuel distribution systems (fuel oil, propane, etc.) may not be readily accessible.

Moreover, electric and gas services may be temporarily disrupted when many people demand large amounts at the same time. You can save it by lowering the thermostat to 65°F during the day and 55°F at night, closing off unused rooms, stuffing towels or rags in cracks under doors, and covering windows at night.


After a winter storm, keep paying attention to local radio or TV stations or NOAA Weather Radio for updated data and instructions. Then, if you can, help a neighbor who may require special support (i.e., infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities). During the recovery period, avoid driving and other travel until conditions have greatly improved. Roads may be blocked by snow or emergency vehicles.

What's more, you should keep away from overexertion. You'd be surprised to know that respiratory failures or heart attacks from shoveling heavy snow are a leading cause of death during winter. Follow forecasts and be alert while wandering outside. Big winter storms are much of the time followed by considerably colder conditions.

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