A significant winter storm is headed to the central Rockies and High Plains regions this weekend which could drop several feet of snow on the region, particularly in Colorado and Wyoming. The American Red Cross is preparing to respond if needed and has safety steps people should follow.
The storm is expected to hit later today through the weekend, slowing down Monday. Strong winds are likely, which will combine with snowfall rates of one to two inches an hour to produce near blizzard conditions. Road and air travel will be difficult to impossible. Power outages are also possible.
This storm could also produce flooding and severe thunderstorms in other parts of the Plains and Mississippi Valley. Follow these links for more safety steps.
WINTER STORM SAFETY
Now is the time to prepare. Have your disaster kit ready – details about what should be included are on our website. When the storm begins, listen to the advice of local officials and stay in a safe place until weather conditions improve and roads can be cleared.
STAY SAFE by following these steps:
- Make sure you have enough heating fuel on hand.
- Stay indoors and wear warm clothes. Layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing will keep you warmer than a bulky sweater.
- Check on relatives, neighbors and friends, particularly if they are elderly or if they live alone. Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full to keep the fuel line from freezing.
- Be extremely careful if you have to shovel snow. Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
- Watch for hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia symptoms include confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Frostbite symptoms include numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.
- Don’t forget your pets – bring them indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
- Download the Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to weather alerts for their area and where loved ones live. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the First Aid App in case travelers encounter any mishaps. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.
DRIVING SAFETY If possible, avoid driving in this storm. If you have to drive, have a window scraper, kitty litter or sand in case you get stuck, extra clothes and a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk. Fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.
- Make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
- Let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
- Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
- Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
- Don’t pass snow plows.
- Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses will freeze before roadways.
- If you get stuck, don’t run your engine and heater constantly to help avoid running out of gas. Don’t use things like lights or the radio without the engine running so the battery doesn’t conk out.
- If you can, move your vehicle off the roadway. Stay with it – don’t abandon it. If you have to get out of your vehicle, use the side away from traffic.
AVOID HOME FIRE DANGER Storms like this can result in a high number of home fires. To avoid fire danger, remember the following:
- Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs
- Place space heaters on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
- Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
- Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
- If your power is out, avoid using candles to prevent a fire.