First Days of Spring Bring Winter Weather Watches For Arkansas

Red Cross in Arkansas offers assistance during winter storm
Always better to be prepared for the worse, than to wish you were.

So much for Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction for an early spring, as the National Weather Service has placed several counties across north and eastern Arkansas under a winter weather advisory for snow and sleet; a winter weather warning is now active through Friday morning for significant snow for six counties in northeast Arkansas including Jonesboro, Walnut Ridge and Paragould.

Because the National Weather Service expects this to be a wet and heavy snow, there is a possibility of power outages. “Disaster Responders have already provided care to Arkansans affected by more than 100 residential fires as we just reach the middle of March,” stated American Red Cross Disaster Director Roger Elliot. “The winter storm during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day increased our response to home fires to an amazing sixty-six.”

To prevent a repeat of fires during this cold period, Arkansans are urged not to use fireplaces that have not been inspected within the past year. Other tips include:

>>Having a working smoke and carbon monoxide detector on each level or your home.

>>Keeping all flammable items (furniture, curtains, rugs, etc.) at least three feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces and space heaters.

>>Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.

>>Should your carbon monoxide detector sound an alert, get outside in the cold, but fresh air, as soon as possible.

To be ready for this quick moving winter weather that has forecasts with as much as half a foot of snow in areas such as Mountain Home, the following action are suggested for your well being:

  • Stay up to date on changes on areas affected by the winter weather watch, and watches becoming warnings.
  • Check weather conditions before leaving your destination. Make certain to check road conditions in advance from beginning to the expected end time of your route.
  • Let friends or co-workers know your travel route and expected arrival time.
  • Fill your gas tank before departing. Make certain to keep the tank at least half filled in the event of travel delays or detours.
  • Keep cell phone charger in car.
  • In addition to your GPS, pack a paper map.
  • Even for a short trip, pack a bottle of water or two for each passenger and a few snacks such as fruit and nuts, again in the event you’re delayed.
  • Pack any medications you could need.
  • If traveling with infants or toddlers pack diapers and ready to use formula.
  • Have emergency contacts in your phone contacts or in your Red Cross app. (Check your Tool Box and look in Make A Plan)
  • Remember your Red Cross apps have emergency tools that may come in handy: flashlight, emergency strobe light and emergency siren. Each one (First Aid, Tornado, Earthquake, Wildfire and Hurricane) has an “I’m Safe Button” to send messages through social media, text or email to friends to let them know you’ve arrived safely. If you haven’t downloaded an app yet, click here or visit your app store on your Android, I-phone or I-pad.