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Winter Is Coming: How You Can Prepare

Winter Storm
NOAA issues Winter Outlook for U.S. weather

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently released the U.S. Winter Outlook, including details on precipitation, temperatures and drought. In summary, forecasters predict weather patterns “favoring cooler and wetter weather in Southern Tier states with above-average temperatures most likely in the West and across the Northern Tier.”

In addition, Deputy Director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center Mike Halpert notes, “A strong El Niño is in place and should exert a strong influence over our weather this winter.”

So how can you prepare your household for whatever winter weather is headed your way?


  • Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
  • Have your supply kit together. We even have a handy list of items to include.
  • As you prepare for winter weather, find ways to prevent home fires and prepare your household should one occur. Our Home Fire Campaign has simple steps and tips to get started.

    Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:

  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes.
  • As winter weather rolls in, use Red Cross guides on winter storm preparation, frozen pipes and even protecting your pets during a winter storm.

    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.