As cooler temperatures arrive, it’s a signal that winter, with its challenging mix of snow, sleet, and ice, isn’t far behind. The National Weather Service (NWS) and the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) are joining forces to declare November 6 – 10, 2023, as Winter Weather Preparedness Week in Missouri to assist residents in staying safe.
SEMA Director Jim Remillard emphasizes readiness, “Being prepared is the best way to protect yourself and your family during the winter. We encourage all Missourians to use this time to prepare and prioritize safety. Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, avoid travel during bad weather, be aware of the risks of cold exposure, and learn other steps to stay safe and healthy.”
Throughout the week, SEMA and the NWS Forecast Offices in Missouri will use social media to send out safety tips. Each day will highlight a specific theme:
- Monday, Nov. 6: Understanding Winter Weather Terminology
- Tuesday, Nov. 7: Staying Safe on Ice
- Wednesday, Nov. 8: Navigating Snow Safely
- Thursday, Nov. 9: Protecting Against Extreme Cold, Hypothermia, and Frostbite
- Friday, Nov. 10: Preparing for Snow, Ice, and Cold
The Department of Health and Senior Services warns of the dangers of cold exposure, noting that 52 Missourians died from hypothermia in 2022.
To prevent frostbite and hypothermia, wear warm, loose layers, avoid alcohol, limit outdoor time in cold temperatures, and stay inside if you can. For more on hypothermia and local warming centers, visit the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website.
Winter road safety is critical. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reported over 7,500 crashes in 2022 related to winter weather, resulting in 1,969 injuries and 51 fatalities.
Reducing travel during winter storms minimizes the risk of accidents and helps clear roads quicker. Essential travel tips include having a well-charged phone, keeping the gas tank at least half full, and checking road conditions on the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Traveler Map. Use safe driving practices and have a winter emergency kit in your vehicle.
Space heaters, if used improperly, can be fatal. Turn them off when unattended and keep flammable materials away. For additional winter safety tips, including driving advice and safe shoveling methods, visit the Missouri State Website.