The National Weather Service out of Northern Indiana has issued a Winter Storm WARNING for our region and released the following information for the upcoming winter snowstorm. Local news outlets out of Toledo are predicting snow totals from 14 to 22 inches of snow possible. The precipitation will start out as rain early Wednesday morning, with a quick transition from freezing rain to snow around daybreak. A wet, heavy snow will begin falling Wednesday morning and increase in amounts as the evening progresses. The most significant snow fall will occur during the evening hours Wednesday into early Thursday morning. The second snow fall will be a fluffy snow, due to the dropping temperatures. Blowing and drifting snow will occur all day Thursday and into Friday. It is important to obey the Winter Warning that has been issued by the NWS and potential Snow Emergency levels issued by the Henry County Sheriff. Travel will be extremely dangerous at times, with slippery conditions, heavy snow accumulations and the temperature drop causing the blowing and drifting snow to occur. Here are some tips and general safety measures to follow during this and any snow event:
Prepare your home for winter. Have your auxiliary heat source, furnaces and fireplaces checked or serviced by a professional before using. Clear the snow from your gas furnace exterior intake and exhaust. If using a portable generator, when the power goes out, guard against carbon monoxide poisoning and keep it outside your home while running. Make sure you have a working CO Detector in your home as well.
Prepare winter disaster kits for the home and vehicle. Refresh stored non-perishable foods and bottled water. Change the batteries in your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and radios. Winter emergency kits should include warm clothing, blankets, flashlights, new batteries, coats, hats, gloves, a battery-operated or hand-cranked radio, first aid kit, and enough non-perishable food and water (one gallon per person, per day) to sustain every family member for up to three days. Have stored food, bottled water and supplies for your pets, as well. Have an emergency kit in your vehicles. The kit should have enough supplies similar to your home kit for each person in the vehicle to sustain them for up to 24 hours or until help arrives. Remember, to observe the current Snow Emergency levels if there are any. Stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. If you become stranded DO NOT leave the safety of your vehicle and wander out into the storm, instead call for emergency services on your cellphone, give then your location and stay there!
Only exit your vehicle to ensure the exhaust is cleared of any obstructions, including snow. This will eliminate the chance of carbon monoxide in your vehicle while running it for heat.
Update your disaster preparedness plans. Every home, school, and business should have written plans for the different types of incidents that can occur. Review the plans with the entire family or staff. Everyone should know what to do in the event of a snow or ice storm, a prolonged power outage, a flood or fire. Post contact information for your local emergency services. Prepare and practice drills that require sheltering in place and evacuation. Because phone numbers change and families move, ensure your emergency contact list is updated.
February is the worst month during the winter season. With the information provided, the need to be prepared and being proactive is essential. For additional information on winter weather safety and severe weather preparedness, visit the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Safety website at www.weathersafety.ohio.gov. Not is not the time to panic, but to prepare!