Preparing for the winter weather - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Preparing for the winter weather

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Thursday is Winter Weather Preparedness Day for Iowa and Nebraska. So it begs the question, are you prepared for the wrath of Old Man Winter?

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service are predicting that this year will be a typical winter with equal chances of average or below average snowfall and temperatures. Snow is inevitable and regardless of how much snow we receive this year, are you prepared?

"Now is the time to start preparing for this, we all think that oh, it won't happen to us but what does it take? It takes a few minutes to grab a book bag, grab a backpack, and pack some of this extra stuff in a vehicle, put it in your vehicle, and make sure it's there at all times," said Deanna Beckman, Dakota County Emergency Management.

So what do you put in your vehicle in case you get stranded? The most important items are that of survival. You want to be sure to pack a flashlight with extra batteries, shovel and/or cat litter, windshield scraper, battery powered radio, non-perishable food, water, extra clothes and blankets, matches, candle, phone charger, booster cables, and a rope for towing.

Why do people make a big deal about putting items in a car for winter? Statically, one of the deadliest places to be is stranded and unprepared in your vehicle.

"If you are stranded in your vehicle, it is very important, if you can, stay in your vehicle because that is your protection. So many times people get out of those vehicles thinking that they'll walk for help and it's in the wintertime they get disoriented, they get cold, the body gets, hypothermia sets in, and then they could get disoriented and get lost," said Beckman.

And when it gets bitterly cold outside, we all need to protect ourselves from frostbite. Frostbite can happen in as little as 30 minutes if the wind chill is 20 below.

"Folks that are really unprepared for the cold weather go out and don't realize that they have gotten themselves in a position where they can be exposed to the cold without protection," said Dr. Liewer, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Mercy Medical Center.

Preparing for the harshness of winter is important and may take a little time, but it will help keep you safe.

Dr. Liewer says that breaks and sprains are also common due to slipping on ice and trying to catch yourself, so do use caution around ice.

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