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      Winter Preparedness Week by Lyndsay Tapases

      This week, December 4-10th, is Winter Preparedness Week in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service use this week to remind Virginians to prepare and plan ahead for severe winter weather before it occurs!

      They offer these tips for planning ahead to make sure you and your family are safe and comfortable in the event of a winter storm, some of which I have listed below:

      Make sure your home is well insulated

      Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify winter weather.

      oFreezing Rain creates a coating of ice on roads and walkways.

      oSleet is rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground, causing roads to freeze and become slippery.

      oWinter Weather Advisory: cold, ice and snow are expected.

      oWinter Storm Watch: severe weather, such as heavy snow or ice, is possible in the next day or two.

      oWinter Storm Warning: severe winter conditions have begun or will begin very soon.

      oBlizzard Warning: heavy snow and strong winds will produce a blinding snow, near zero visibility, deep drifts and life-threatening wind chill.

      oFrost/Freeze Warning: below-freezing temperatures are expected.

      Thoroughly check and update your family's emergency supply kit before winter approaches. For home, start with these basics: three days' food and water; a battery-powered and/or hand-crank radio with extra batteries; and a family emergency plan. After getting these supplies, add a first aid kit, medications if needed, blankets and warm clothing, supplies for special members of your household, and pet items. For your car, start with some bottles of water and food bars; bag of sand or kitty litter to provide traction under tires; hats, gloves and blankets; and cell phone charger.

      If you have a wood burning fire place, consider storing wood to keep you warm if winter weather knocks out your heat.

      If you use a generator or space heater, practice proper safety procedures.

      You can visit the DEM's site for much more on this topic here, and go to www.ReadyVirginia.gov to print out an emergency supply checklist and a family emergency plan.