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Winter Weather Makes Early Appearance in Parts of Country

Weather experts are reporting a blast of polar air is heading down from Canada to the United States

Even though the country is only a few days into autumn, some areas of the country are experiencing winter-type weather. The American Red Cross has helpful tips for those affected by extremely cold weather or snow.

Weather experts are reporting a blast of polar air is heading down from Canada to the United States over the next few days, bringing a huge drop in temperatures all the way to the Deep South, with snow in parts of Montana, North Dakota and through the northern Rockies.

With eyes on cold temperatures and possible snow, the Red Cross offers tips for those in affected areas.

Have furnaces, chimneys, fireplaces, wood and coal stoves inspected and cleaned before another winter of use. Test batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Other good steps to take to get one’s home ready for winter include:

  • Make sure flashlights are available throughout the house. Make sure the batteries are fresh. Winter storms can lead to power outages.
  • Insulate the home by installing storm windows or covering the inside of windows with plastic to keep cold air out.
  • Winterize one’s vehicle.
  • Develop a fire escape plan and practice it with everyone who lives in the home.
  • Prepare a disaster supply kit to have ready should winter storms hit. The kit should include a three-day supply of food and water per person, flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio and extra batteries. Other things to include for the winter include:
  • Sand, rock salt or kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery
  • Warm coats, gloves or mittens, hats, boots and warm clothing for all household members, along with extra blankets.
  • An alternate way to heat the home, such as a fireplace, or wood or coal burning stove.
  • SPACE HEATERS With heating costs rising, many people are considering using alternate sources of heat to cut down on heating bills. The Red Cross recommends that people look for a model that shuts off automatically if the heater falls over, and that it is placed on a level, hard and nonflammable surface in the home. Other safety tips include:

  • Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.
  • Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • FLU SEASON Flu activity can begin as early as October in this country, peaking in January or February. Everyone six months or older should get a flu vaccine this year, as soon as flu season vaccine becomes available in their community.

    More information about how to be prepared for winter storms is available on this web site.

    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.