Winter Weather Awareness Week in Georgia is Dec. 6 – 10, and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency’s Ready Georgia campaign encourages residents to put safety first by preparing for risks associated with severe winter weather.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) U.S. Winter Outlook says Georgia is expected to experience a moderate to strong La Niña this winter, consequently affecting weather patterns and producing a warmer and drier season than average that may lead to drought conditions.
Although the forecast predicts a warmer season, GEMA officials advise that no Georgian should be caught off guard, as extreme weather can occur suddenly in the form of cold air outbreaks and snowstorms and may cause severe problems in Georgia.
- Prepare a Ready Kit of Emergency Supplies
- Prepare a Ready kit of emergency supplies for your home and car. Include with a three-day supply of nonperishable food, water, a flash light with extra batteries, a NOAA Weather Radio, adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm, as well as additional supplies for the unique needs of your family.
- Ensure proper home insulation by placing weather stripping around doors and windows, allowing faucets to drip during cold weather to prevent freezing and opening cabinet doors to let heat reach uninsulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
- Winterize your vehicle and keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent your fuel line from freezing.
- Create a winter weather plan
- Plan to stay inside, if necessary, for at least three days. If trapped outside during severe winter try to stay dry, cover all body parts, periodically move limbs to keep blood circulating and build a fire, if possible.
- Avoid traveling by car in icy conditions. If you must go out and do get stuck, stay with your car. Leave the overhead lights on when the engine is running so you can be seen.
- Plan for pets to come inside and store adequate food and water for them.
- Create an emergency communications plan so family members will know who to contact if separated during a storm. Designate at least one out-of-town contact that all family members can call.
- Stay Informed about Winter Weather
- Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio and monitor commercial radio, television and the Internet to stay informed of winter weather.
- Learn about the terms used to describe winter hazards such as freezing rain, sleet, winter weather advisory, winter storm watch and winter storm warning.
- Know the symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite occurs when your body tissue freezes. Your extremities may have a white or pale appearance and may lose feeling. The most susceptible areas of your body are the fingers, toes, earlobes, or the tip of your nose. Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature falls below 95 degrees. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and exhaustion. If you suspect you have frostbite or hypothermia, get medical attention immediately.
For more information on preparing for winter storms, tune into Ready Georgia’s `Preparing for Winter Weather` podcast or visit www.ready.ga.gov. The site offers comprehensive preparedness tools and resources including an interactive preparedness tool that generates customized checklists and communications plans so Georgians can take the guesswork out of getting ready for the unexpected.