Nov 29-Dec 5 is winter preparedness week

Governor Terry McAuliffe has proclaimed Nov. 29 through Dec. 5 as Winter Preparedness Week in Virginia, which serves as a reminder to prepare now before severe weather arrives.

Virginia could get a wetter-than-average and colder-than-average winter, according to the National Weather Service.

On Nov. 19, the NWS predicted above-median precipitation amounts for December, January and February in Virginia due to a strong El Niño effect.

NWS also predicted that temperatures might be slightly below median levels. The term El Niño refers to the large-scale ocean-atmosphere climate interaction linked to a periodic warming in sea surface temperatures across the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific.

No matter what the predictions are, a significant winter storm is always possible.

If freezing rain is accumulating on power lines, that means it’s accumulating on trees, which could fall on power lines and cause an outage.

Keep in mind that an important part of winter weather planning is being prepared to stay where you are until conditions improve. To be ready, take these steps:

  • Get a kit. Basic emergency supplies include:
    • Food and water for three days (one gallon of water per person per day).
    • A battery-powered and/or hand-cranked radio with extra batteries.
    • For businesses and offices, bottled water, protein bars and a radio or TV to hear local information about whether it is safe to travel.
    • A power pack for recharging cell phones and other mobile devices.
  • Make a plan. Everyone needs an emergency plan:
    • Decide who your out-of-town emergency contact will be.
    • Where will you meet up with family members if you can’t return home?
    • Get an emergency plan worksheet at ReadyVirginia.gov.
  • Stay informed. Before, during and after a winter storm, you should:
    • Listen to local media for information and instructions from emergency officials.
    • Be aware of winter storm watches and warnings and road conditions.
    • Get where you need to go before the weather gets bad.
    • Get road condition information 24/7 by calling 511 or checking www.511Virginia.org
  • Download the Ready Virginia app. Free app for iPhone® and Android™ features:
    • Location-specific weather watches and warnings issued by the NWS.
    • Disaster news from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.
    • A customizable family emergency plan that can be easily shared.
    • A checklist for gathering emergency supplies.
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