|Even though some portions of the state have already experienced their first winter precipitation this season, it’s not too late for all of Oklahoma to become winter weather prepared. Toward that effort, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) has joined the National Weather Service (NWS) in recognizing Wednesday, Dec. 1 as Winter Weather Awareness Day.
With winter weather comes the need to prepare your home, automobile and family to deal with the colder temperatures, as well as the possibility for snow and ice.
“It’s especially timely to review winter weather travel safety plans since more people will be on the road during the holiday period,” explained OEM Director Albert Ashwood. “Before setting out on a holiday trip we encourage families to make sure they have prepared their automobile. Packing blankets, emergency food and water, flashlights, a radio and cell phone with extra batteries will help you and your family, should you become stranded because of the weather,” he said.
It’s also important to remember to protect your home. Adding weather stripping and insulation, keeping furnaces clean and ready to use, and being aware of cold temperatures and vulnerable pipes that might freeze mark just some of the actions that can help prevent major and costly winter weather-related damage.
In recent years Oklahoma has experienced some devastating ice storms. The storms were responsible for nearly 40 deaths, power outages for hundreds of thousands and more than $250 million in damages to cities and towns. “By following some simple tips and monitoring the media during times of severe weather, Oklahomans stand their best chance at not becoming a victim of the weather” said Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist with the NWS Office at Norman.
Winter weather watches and warnings will be issued by the NWS on NOAA Weather Radios and over radio and television stations so that Oklahoman’s can stay aware of any hazardous winter weather conditions that may arise.
In addition, OEM is teaming up with local emergency management offices across the state in order to encourage winter weather preparedness activities in all Oklahoma communities. Individuals or groups who would like to host a program to help become better prepared for the next storm should call their local emergency management office.