How To Prepare For Winter

Weather Whys

With the impending Winter weather season, many of us know exactly what that means! Whether it’s subzero and dangerous wind chills or snow drifts that we have to dig ourselves out of, it seems to be a way of life for us here in North Dakota. Here are a few tips to prepare for Mother Nature’s impacts and to hopefully help ward off any anxiety:

Common types of advisories and warnings:

Winter Weather Advisory is issued 12 to 24 hours prior to the event. It means winter weather conditions have a high probability of happening, or they’re imminent, or already occurring. 

Winter Storm Warning – six inches of snow will fall in 12 hours or 8 inches of snow in 24 hours. There could also be a half inch of sleet accumulation. A decent amount of a winty mix can also prompt this warning. 

Blizzard Warning – when sustained or frequent wind gusts of 35 mph or greater are causing visibility of less than one quarter mile for at least three hours. 

Ice Storm Warning – when a quarter of an inch or more of ice accumulation is expected.

Wind Chill Warning – wind chills of 40 below are expected.

Safety Outdoors:

Signs of Frostbite:

-Skin initially becomes red

-With prolonged exposure, skin will become white or a yellowish gray. 

-Skin could feel warm or waxy


What to do if you get frostbite:

-Head inside! 

-Try not to walk on frostbitten feet and toes.

-Immerse area in warm, not hot, water. 

-Do not rub or massage. This will do more damage. 

-Do not use an any heating mechanisms. The affected skin is more susceptible to damage.

Wind Chill Chart

Preparing your home for the Winter:

-Have a technician check your heating system. Make sure it’s working properly

-Reverse your ceiling fan blades. Make sure it’s running clockwise. This will produce an updraft and help bring the heat down. This will allow you to turn your thermostat down a degree or two. 

-Have a home energy auditor come and check your roof for any leaks. Warm air can escape and melt snow on the roof, causing ice dams in your gutter. 

-Check the roof for any missing shingles before the snowfall covers it. 

-Check the caulk around windows and doors. 

-Divert water – make sure your gutters are diverting any ice or snow melt at least 3 to 4 feet away from your foundation. 

-Drain outdoor faucets and hoses – when water freezes, it expands and will crack hoses and watering systems. 

-Have your chimney cleaned. 

-Keep vents and pipes outside of your home clear of any snow. This will help prevent carbon monoxide leaks. 

Preparing your Vehicle for Winter Weather 

-Apply a new coat of wax to help protect against ice and snow. 

-Change oil – Depending on your car, it may be good to switch from a conventional to a synthetic oil during the Winter months. 

-Test your battery – Weak batteries will not last through extreme cold. You don’t want to be stranded!

-Inspect wipers 

-Check your antifreeze

-Change conventional wiper fluid to a de-icing fluid.

-Inspect your radiator cap and thermostat – this plays a critical role in your heating and cooling. 

-Inspect tires – bald tires could leave you stranded in even a light accumulation. It may even be good to change tires to a Winter tread.  

(Frostbite and ice safety information provided by the National Weather Service)

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