FORT SMITH – Winter weather is expected to roll through most of Arkansas and Oklahoma this weekend, bringing chance of freezing rain, ice and snow. It’s important to make sure your home and car are prepared before the storm strikes, ensuring your home and vehicles are properly stocked with supplies.
The National Weather Service advises focusing on the loss of heat, power and telephone services and a shortage of supplies during a winter storm.
Items you should get before temperatures drop and the snow starts falling are flashlights, extra batteries and food supplies. It’s also important to build an emergency supply kit for vehicles that contain the following items:
* Spare tire
* Jumper cable
* First Aid Kit
* Cell phone charger
* Water and snacks
* Mittens, hats, boots and warm clothes
* Snow shovel and brush
* Two rope
* Sand or kitty litter
According to the National Weather Service, more than 6,000 people are killed and 48,000 are injured due to weather-related vehicle crashes. If you have to get out over the weekend, drive slowly and watch out for patches of ice.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health is also encouraging the public to begin preparation for the upcoming holiday season. Proper planning can reduce the risk of injury or illness while also ensuring a family is prepared for a major winter weather event.
OSDH Emergency Manager Darrell Eberly reminds travelers to check local television and radio reports of weather forecasts prior to making travel plans, and to know what the National Weather Service winter storm and blizzard watches and warnings mean. The differences between a watch and the warning is that a winter storm watch is issued when conditions show signs favorable to a winter storm event, while when a warning is issued residents need to take action. A winter storm warning means travel will become difficult or impossible due to snow, ice, sleet or a combination of all three.
“It’s a good idea to minimize travel during hazardous conditions,” Eberly said. “If you have to travel, it’s important to ensure your cell phone is fully charged, keep emergency supplies in the vehicle and let friends or relatives know about your travel plans.”
During a winter storm, the National Weather Service advises finding shelter, and if there is no shelter to build one, and, if left outside, to make sure to exercise from time to time.
Weather is ever changing. To keep an eye on what the National Weather Service is saying about this weekend’s weather visit weather.gov.