Monday, December 7, 2009

Prepare Now For Winter Storms - from the Red Cross

PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon is prone to winter storms, and the Oregon Trail Chapter of the American Red Cross urges residents to take steps now to stay safer when severe weather threatens.

"By preparing together for winter storms, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger," Eric Corliss, Director of Emergency Services said. "We can help you and your family create a disaster preparedness plan now, before our communities are threatened by dangerously low temperatures, snow, ice and strong winds."

As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for winter storms by:

Assembling an Emergency Preparedness Kit:

Pack a winter-specific supply kit that includes a warm coat, hat, mittens or gloves, and water-resistant boots, along with extra blankets and extra warm clothing. Sand or non-clumping kitty litter is good to have on hand to help make walkways or steps less slippery. Additionally, make sure you have a first aid kit and essential medications, canned food and can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries in your home in the event of a power outage.

Heeding Storm Warnings:

A winter storm WATCH means winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions via NOAA Weather radio, or local radio or television stations. A winter storm WARNING means that life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. Individuals in a warning area should take precautions immediately.

Preparing Your Home and Car:

Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full, which will help to keep the fuel line from freezing. Make sure your home is properly insulated by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to help keep cold air out. Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year. Running water, even at a trickle, helps to prevent pipes from freezing.

For more winter storm safety tips, visit A free online preparedness course is also available at


A strong surface high pressure system over the interior of western Canada is pushing arctic air into western WA and OR bringing the coldest weather so far this season. The cold dry conditions are expected to continue through much of this week. A Freeze Warning remains in effect until 2300 PST today and a Freeze Watch remains in effect from Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning along the south central Oregon Coast

Weathering the Winter Season - know the terms

Weathering the Winter Season
It’s important to understand the differences behind National Weather Service’s advisories, watches and warnings.

An advisory is a “heads-up” that conditions are likely for dangerous weather. Advisories are issued when weather conditions will cause a significant inconvenience and, if ignored, could lead to hazardous consequences.

A watch is stronger than an advisory. It tells you that hazardous weather is likely in the next 12-48 hours. Watches are issued to give you time to prepare and plan for weather threats. When a watch is issued, it’s prudent to listen to NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards and check the forecast frequently atNOAA’s National Weather Service Web site (

A warning means a threat is occurring or is imminent, and you need to take protective action.
Pay close attention to weather forecasts and listen for advisories, watches and warnings like these:
• Winter Weather Advisory – Expect two or more of the following weather conditions: snow,
freezing rain or drizzle, sleet or blowing snow. Be prepared for hazardous driving conditions.
• Winter Storm Watch – In the next 12-48 hours, severe winter weather conditions are favorable for heavy snow, blizzard conditions, freezing rain or sleet.
• Winter Storm Warning – This means that severe weather is imminent or has already begun.
Expect any combination of heavy snow, freezing rain, sleet and strong winds.
• Blizzard Warning – Blizzards are the most dangerous winter storms. A blizzard is heavy snow and strong winds (35 mph or greater) that combine to produce blinding snow with near zero visibility, deep drifts, and a life-threatening wind chill. (