CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – The effects of hazardous winter weather have already been felt as a mid-November winter storm brought power outages, slick driving conditions, and closed schools and businesses for parts of the state. The early arrival of winter should remind all West Virginians that now is the time to prepare for whatever winter may bring and West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, along with the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the National Weather Service, has designated November 18 – 22 as Winter Weather Awareness Week.
“The extreme cold felt across West Virginia earlier this month is a reminder of just how dangerous winter can be,” said Mike Todorovich, Director of the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “Take time during Winter Awareness Week to stock your emergency kits, have your vehicles serviced and check your furnace, fireplace, or chimney to make sure you’re ready for winter.”
One of the best ways to prepare for the winter ahead is by putting together a basic emergency kit. A basic emergency kit should have a three-day supply of food, water and medicine, along with the essential supplies your family will need in the event of a prolonged power outage when travel is not possible. More advice on what to include in an emergency kit for your family can be found at ready.gov/build-a-kit.
Know the risks your community faces and monitor weather forecasts. When a winter storm is in the forecast, communicate with family members and know their location and travel plans. Make sure all family members are able to get emergency alerts.
While the best idea is to just stay home during winter storms, sometimes that’s not possible. Winterize your vehicle and keep an emergency kit in your car.
“It is not unusual for conditions to vary from no snow and clear driving in the valleys to piles of snow and treacherous travel conditions in the mountains,” said Tony Edwards, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, WV. “Travelers should make sure to check the forecast and road conditions all along their route, not just at their destination.”
The West Virginia Department of Transportation urges you to “know before you go” by checking traffic and road closure information at wv511.org before heading out the door.
Winter Weather Awareness Week is a perfect time for families, communities, schools, and businesses to review their plans and to build or resupply their emergency kits. To help that effort, the National Weather Service offices that serve the state of West Virginia and WVDHSEM will share winter weather preparedness information throughout the week via the web, Facebook, and Twitter. Partner organizations and the media are also encouraged to participate and the National Weather Service has made various winter weather preparedness articles, infographics, and social media plans available for use on the West Virginia Winter Awareness webpage. Additional preparedness information for Winter Weather Awareness Week can be found on the WVDHSEM website and on the ReadyWV! Webpage.