November 7-12, 2011 is Winter Weather Awareness Week in the State of Wisconsin. Sponsored by Wisconsin Emergency Management and the National Weather Service offices in the state, Winter Weather Awareness Week seeks to inform and educate the public on the dangers of winter weather in Wisconsin. Winter hazards include heavy snows…blizzards…ice storms…extreme cold and low wind chills, widespread high winds, glazing of freezing drizzle or freezing rain, dense fog, and indirectly the affects of carbon monoxide poisoning.
As for myself, I’m not ready for winter, I’ve just got the leaves raked up out of my lawn. But once November arrives, it is pretty much assured that winter weather will follow. Forecasters are predicting another La Nina pattern for our area, that means colder temps, and above average precipitation. This is a boon for the skiers and snowmobilers in our area; but it also means that we need to take some simple precautions so that we don’t become another statistic.
For example: According to Wisconsin Department of Transportation statistics, an average of about 25,000 vehicle accidents occur in the state each winter season when roads are covered with snow…ice…or slush. This results in an average of about 70 deaths and 7,500 injuries each winter. Nationally, an average of about 950 people die in winter-related road accidents each year. Many of these accidents can be avoided.
Winter storms are considered deceptive killers because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. Examples of such deaths include traffic accidents on icy or snow-covered roads, prolonged exposure to the cold and indoor carbon monoxide poisoning. It is important to start taking preventive measures for winter weather. Now is the time to winterize your car and home, gather items for an emergency kit in your car, and make sure you have a NOAA Weather Radio with fresh batteries.
Additional winter weather tips and how to put together a winter emergency kit are available at the ReadyWisconsin website. In addition, there are numerous winter storm maps and a history of Wisconsin’s winter weather produced by the National Weather Service. For more information, visit ReadyWisconsin at readywisconsin.wi.gov.