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[NOV. 16, 2005]
Snow and hazardous driving conditions caught many
people off guard the day before Thanksgiving in 2004, on the busiest
travel day of the year, despite advance forecasts and warnings. The
problem -- most people who became stranded in central Illinois were
not prepared for winter travel.
To help the citizens of Illinois become more aware of the
dangers of winter, the National Weather Service has declared the
week of Nov. 13-19 Winter Weather Preparedness Week in the state of
Illinois. The National Weather Service is joining forces with the
Illinois Emergency Management Agency, American Red Cross, Illinois
State Police, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois
Department on Aging, and the Office of the State Fire Marshal to
educate the public about the hazards of winter weather.
weather is often called the "deceptive killer" because winter storms
and extreme cold result in nearly 80 fatalities annually across the
United States. Numerous traffic accidents, injuries from slips and
falls, and many cases of frostbite are also some of the consequences
of the winter season.
"Now is the time to prepare," said Chris Miller, warning
coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in
Lincoln. "Recent disasters across our country have underscored the
importance of being ready for storms and heeding the warnings."
Some simple and inexpensive things that can be done to get ready
for the winter season are:
- Make sure you and your vehicle are ready for winter driving
conditions. If you are planning a trip, check the weather
forecast along the entire route.
- Have a winter storm survival kit in your auto, with the
- Cell phone and charger
- Blankets and extra clothing
- First-aid kit and any prescription medications
- Ice scraper, snow brush and small shovel
- Booster cables, tool kit, a tow rope and sack of sand or cat
- Water and high-calorie, nonperishable food
- Compass and road maps
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- Know the terms related to winter storms and extreme cold:
- A watch means that a winter storm is possible and you need
to watch weather forecasts closely.
- A warning means that a winter storm is imminent or already
under way. Travel is not recommended, unless it is an emergency.
- An advisory means that the winter weather will produce an
inconvenience to travelers. Extra precautions need to be taken
to avoid accidents.
- Have emergency supplies on hand at work and home, including
a battery-operated NOAA weather radio, extra food and
medication, flashlights, and extra batteries.
- Winterize your home to save money on fuel costs. If you have
an alternate heating source, use it safely with proper
ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
For more information about being adequately prepared for winter
weather, visit the NWS Lincoln "Winter Weather Safety" Web page at
[National Weather Service, Lincoln,