Winter Storm Preparedness Week
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[NOV. 13, 2004]
Now is the time to
prepare for inclement winter weather across the state of Illinois.
The week of Nov. 14-20 has been declared as Winter Storm
Preparedness Week in Illinois by the National Weather Service in
conjunction with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the
American Red Cross, the Illinois State Police, the Illinois
Department on Aging, the Illinois Department of Transportation and
the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal.
Winter storms are known as the
"deceptive killers." Annually, winter storms and very cold
temperatures combine to produce 71 fatalities across the United
States, which is more than the deaths caused by tornadoes.
The National Weather Service and the Illinois Emergency Management
Agency have prepared a "Winter Storm Preparedness" guide
information on these topics:
- What to do to prepare your home and vehicle for winter weather.
- Planning for winter travel and what to do if you get caught in
- How to avoid the dangers of frostbite and hypothermia.
- Winter weather terms and a wind chill chart.
- Sources of information on winter storms.
Click below to view the information
provided in the guide.
National Weather Service winter weather fact sheet
The National Weather Service mission:
The National Weather Service provides weather, hydrologic, and
climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its
territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of
life and property and the enhancement of the national economy. The
National Weather Service is the sole U.S. official voice for
issuing warnings during life-threatening weather situations.
Hazardous winter weather effects
- On average, 44 people in the United States lose their lives
each year due to winter storms. This ranks No. 4 on the list of
storm-related fatalities, behind flooding, with 84; tornadoes,
58; and lightning, 53.
- Bitterly cold weather has resulted in 27 fatalities each year
on average in the United States. This is nearly twice the number
of people that die from hurricanes in this country.
- About 70 percent of the people who are killed or injured due
to winter storms are in automobiles. About 25 percent of the
people who are killed or injured in winter storms are caught out
in the storm with no place to take shelter.
- Many deaths and injuries are indirectly related to
winter weather occurrences that are not classified as winter
storms. These include:
Traffic accidents on hazardous roads
Heart attacks from shoveling snow or
other outdoor activities
Hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold
Central Illinois winter weather warning statistics
- Since 1998, nearly 85 percent of all winter weather
storms (heavy snow and significant icing) in central Illinois
have had advance warning by the National Weather Service in
Lincoln, with an average lead time of 15.4 hours.
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Interesting winter weather facts
- In the Midwestern United States, Marquette, Mich., is the
snowiest city, with an average annual snow accumulation of
nearly 130 inches! In central Illinois, the northeast Woodford
County town of Minonk has the highest average annual snowfall
with 27.1 inches.
- The biggest snowstorm to affect central Illinois occurred
Dec. 18-20, 1973, when 14 to 22 inches of snow was measured
along and just south of Interstate 72. The highest total was in
the Edgar County town of Paris, which had 21.5 inches of snow.
- In the Midwest, it usually takes about 13 inches of snow to
yield 1 inch of water. This ratio can change from storm to
storm. "Dry" snow that is accompanied by very cold temperatures
may take as much as 25 inches of snow to yield an inch of water,
while "wet" snow from weather systems that originate near the
Gulf of Mexico can produce 4 inches of snow for every inch of
- The coldest temperature to be recorded in the state occurred
in the central Illinois town of Congerville, in Woodford County,
when the mercury dipped to minus 36 degrees F on Jan. 5, 1999.
- The coldest temperature ever recorded in the continental
United States was minus 70 degrees in Rogers Pass, Mont.
Alaska’s coldest reading was minus 80 degrees at Prospect Creek.
The world-record coldest temperature was minus 129 degrees at
the South Pole.
Economic effects of weather forecasts and warnings
- 33 percent of the United States Gross National Product is
affected by National Weather Service forecasts.
- Economists have estimated that improved El Niño forecasts
have resulted in annual savings of nearly $300 million for U.S.
agriculture by altering planting decisions.
- A 1 degree improvement in temperature forecasts could
decrease the annual cost of electricity by at least $1 billion.
Visit the Internet home page of the Lincoln National Weather
Service office at www.crh.noaa.gov/ilx for the latest weather and river forecasts, warnings, current
conditions, radar and satellite imagery, and climate information.
[Provided by the Chris Miller,
warning coordination meteorologist,
National Weather Service
office in Lincoln]