Winter storms can be dangerous. Not only do they bring snow, they sometimes bring freezing rain, sleet, and very blustery conditions. They pose hazardous conditions for anyone, especially on roads.
The dangers of winter storms vary. Driving in the heavy snow is hazardous; you might get stuck in the deep snow or slide off the roads if you don't slow down. Ice storms cause treacherous driving conditions, too, and they are responsible for knocking out power and heat in homes and businesses. And extreme cold weather create frostbite risks for anyone who's not dressed properly.
A winter storm is a winter storm. Whether it involves snow, ice or extreme cold, getting prepared for one is an essential way to be safe. Here is the list of problems winter storms cause and ways to stay safe in them.
Snowstorms may appeal ski businesses or snow lovers alike, but no matter how much snow that falls and sticks to the ground, it increases a risk for slippery conditions. A winter storm dumping heavy snow will impact road conditions, and too many people slip and slide because they drive too fast in the snow. The deep snow may strand drivers. That's why it’s important to bring a winter survival kit if they have to be out on the road through a severe snowstorm. When it’s time to shovel sidewalks, you have to do so carefully and with caution, especially if it means shoveling wet snow or sleet.
Winter storms that are in the form of blizzards, accompanied by high winds and poor visibilities caused by blowing snow, are especially dangerous. It might be impossible to see when there’s snow whipped around you. Sometimes blizzards are blamed for scattered power outages, thanks to the high winds and heavy snow. In addition to the snow being drifted onto roads, they will be nearly impossible to navigate, and people are often urged to avoid driving.
In the aftermath of a snowstorm, there will soon be melting snow. As a result, some water from the snow will seep onto streets, and then it refreezes. This phenomenon is known as black ice, something drivers may not see, but it’s there. Black ice is especially dangerous at night, when it’s difficult to see the roads. So black ice is just like freshly fallen ice from a freezing rain; it’s slippery and dangerous to anyone.
An ice storm might be worse that a snowstorm. It’ll take just a trace of ice to make the roads slippery. A more significant coating of ice will mean power outages and possibly costly damages to businesses, plants and homes. Ice-covered power lines crashing toward streets may also follow, so people need to slow down and watch out for them.
Winter storms can also mean very cold temperatures. When there are winds blowing, they'll make the actual temperature feel colder. Frostbites may be a problem due to wind chill, as well as hypothermia. Covering yourself from your face to your toe with warm clothing will help prevent risks from the extreme cold.
Whenever a winter storm hits your area, it’s that time to be prepared. Stay tuned to weather forecasts to stay abreast of the conditions. Have necessary items ready, like food, water, a flashlight, batteries, extra blankets, and more to stay safe.