Winter Preparedness Guide

Winter Preparedness Guide

Winter storms can bring ice, snow, high winds, freezing rain or a combination of these conditions. They can cause power outages and affect community services. Use this checklist to help you prepare for winter storms and manage their impact on you, your family and your business.


  •  Winter Storm Outlook: Winter storm conditions are possible in the next 2-5 days.
  • Winter Weather Advisory: Winter weather conditions are expected to cause
    inconveniences and may be dangerous. Exercise caution, but these situations should not be life-threatening.
  • Winter Storm Watch: Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 3-4 days.
    People in designated watch area should stay informed of local weather conditions.
  • Winter Storm Warning: Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have
    begun or will begin within 24 hours. People in warning area should take precautions immediately.
  • Freezing Rain: Rain freezes when it hits the ground and can create a layer of ice on roads, walkways, trees and power lines.
  • The national weather service also issues advisories and warnings for other winter weather, including blizzards, freezes, wind chill, lake effect snow and dense fog.


  •  Check antifreeze levels in your car and ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
  • Ensure your battery and ignition systems are in good condition, and battery terminals are clean.
  • Check your exhaust system for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and gives no warning.
  • Verify your heater and defroster work properly.
  • Check oil for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and thus do not lubricate as well.
  • Keep at least 5 seconds behind other vehicles on the road. Do not use cruise control or abrupt steering maneuvers.


  • Winter Storms
  • Red Cross Winter Checklist
  • Weather Underground Winter Preparedness Guide
  • National Weather Service Winter Storm Safety