Here are tips recommended by the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, and the National Weather Service each year to prepare for the Oklahoma winter weather.
- Winterize Your Home - In order to prepare your home for the winter weather and reduce heating bills, the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board recommends several steps to winterizing your home such as: weather stripping around doors and frames, adjusting thermostats to 68 degrees or lower, opening blinds and curtains during the day to allow sunlight, letting faucets drip to avoid freezing, sealing cracks with caulk, installing outlet seals, changing furnace filters and utilizing a programmable thermostat. For more information and a step-by-step video, see details on winterizing your home.
- Create a Winter Emergency Plan - Just as schools and offices have specific plans in the case of emergencies, so should you for the winter season. Officials recommend discussing with your family what to do, clarifying meeting places and contact numbers, knowing what to do if services such as gas or water are lost and understanding the dangers of cold temperatures. It's important to have an alternate heating source such as a fireplace, if necessary.
In addition, don't forget to check on friends and family, particularly the elderly, to make sure they are prepared, and have a plan in place for pets during winter weather.
- Prepare Your Winter Weather Kit for Car - Every car should have an emergency kit that is easily accessible should severe winter weather cause you to be stranded. A winter weather kit should include:
- A cell phone with charger and a battery powered radio
- Windshield scraper, de-icer and snow shovel or small broom for ice and snow removal
- Dry clothes, coats and rain gear
- Non-perishable snacks like dried fruit or nuts
- Several bottles of water
- Sand or cat litter for generating traction under wheels and a set of tire chains or traction mats
- Jumper cables
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Stay Informed - With your home and car prepared for winter weather, don't forget to stay informed and ready. Watch the news when conditions are right, and be aware of National Weather Service winter weather terms:
- A "watch" means a winter storm is possible in your area.
- A "warning" means a winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area and could threaten life and property.
- A "blizzard warning" means winds or gusts to 35 mph or greater are occurring and considerable falling or blowing snow is expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.
Get more on winter warnings/conditions from NOAAWatch.gov.