Statewide Winter Weather Awareness Week stresses preparedness

Getting ready in advance is key

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – Snow, ice, and freezing rain often blanket much of Lexington, central and eastern Kentucky during winter months, causing widespread traffic jams, power outages, school and business closings. Lexington Emergency Management and the National Weather Service in Louisville will participate in statewide Winter Weather Awareness Week activities, starting on Sunday, December 5.

“Lexington can experience all sorts of severe weather during winter months,” said Pat Dugger, director of Lexington’s Division of Emergency Management. “From snow to freezing rain and ice, residents need to be ready for all types of winter conditions, including extreme cold snaps. A little preparation can go a long way when you can’t get out of your house, or the power goes out.”

According to the National Weather Service, the average snowfall for Lexington is 14.5 inches, with an average high of 45 degrees and an average low of 28.

“The long-range outlook for snow is slightly above normal,” said Mike Kochasic, NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist in Louisville. “The outlook is for normal temperatures in December and January and slightly above normal temperatures in February and March.”

While temperatures and weather conditions are moderate right now, here are some things you can do to be ready for winter weather.

  • Finish outdoor clean-up work: Remove hoses from spigots and install insulated caps to keep them from freezing. Clean gutters of debris or leaves before snow and ice accumulate. Finally, remove dead branches from trees surrounding the home. Ice and snow can weigh down branches, snapping them and potentially damaging property.
  • Update your emergency plan: Make sure you write down the current phone numbers of friends, family, doctors, and other important contacts. Know what you’d do and where you’d go if there were a power outage. If you have a medical condition that requires electrical equipment, consider getting a small backup power bank that can operate a CPAP or oxygen concentrator.
  • Check your emergency kit: Everyone’s home emergency kit is a little different, but everyone should have the basics so you can self-sustain for at least three days. That includes a first aid kit, flashlights, battery-operated radio, food that doesn’t need to be heated, water, snacks, and medicine for chronic/continuing conditions. In addition, make sure you have a  cell phone battery bank, tools, work gloves, a change of winter clothing for each family member, and some cash in small bills. Games and puzzles that don’t have to be plugged in are also good. Finally, if you have infants or small children, include formula, food, diapers, and child-strength medications.
  • Know where to get emergency information: We have several resources to get emergency information listed on our website, BeReadyLexington.com. In addition, you may have a favorite weather app for your smartphone, or your preferred radio or TV station may have its own news and weather website or apps. You should have several ways of getting current information if the power goes out. Make sure you have a car charger for your phone so that if the power goes out, you can get in your car, stay warm and charge your phone. REMEMBER: DON’T RUN YOUR CAR IN THE GARAGE – EVEN WITH THE GARAGE DOOR OPEN.

  • Have an emergency kit for your car or truck: You should have essential items in your vehicle, just if you get stranded due to weather or your car breaks down. Include at least one blanket and a small snow shovel, kitty litter or sand, a flashlight or headlamp, phone charger, and emergency reflectors. In addition, include some food and water, a first aid kit, and extra clothing. Finally, make sure you have ice scrapers and gloves for defrosting your car.

    During the winter months, it’s a good idea to drive on the top half of your gas tank. When the tank gets to one-half, fill it up. Water can accumulate at the bottom of the gas tank, leaving you stranded even if the gas gauge shows you’re good for another 10 miles. Check your tires, brakes, lights, and wipers before heavy winter weather comes.

All through the week of December 5, we’ll be sharing tips on winter weather safety. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Nextdoor, as well as our website, BeReadyLexington.com.

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