IEMA, National Weather Service encourage Illinois residents to prepare for winter storms

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

                     On the heels of a crippling winter

                     storm on the East Coast and just nine months after a

                     blizzard and ice storm hammered most of Illinois, the

                     Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the

                     National Weather Service (NWS) today encouraged

                     Illinois residents to begin preparing for the cold,

                     snow and ice that define winters in Illinois.

                     IEMA and NWS will highlight winter storm preparedness

                     throughout November as part of the annual Winter

                     Storm Preparedness campaign.

                     “Fortunately, we haven’t experienced winter weather

                     yet this season, but the East Coast storm is a vivid

                     reminder of what could be right around the corner,”

                     said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken.  “And with

                     February’s blizzard still fresh in most people’s

                     minds, we hope Illinois residents will follow our

                     advice and begin preparing for winter storms now.”

                     To help people prepare for winter hazards, IEMA, NWS

                     and the American Red Cross developed a Winter Storm

                     Preparedness Guide, which contains information about

                     winter weather terms and tips for staying safe at

                     home, in the car and at work or school.  This guide

                     is available on the Ready Illinois website at

            or by calling 217-785-9888.

                     Widespread power outages caused by heavy snow or ice

                     can be particularly dangerous during the cold, winter

                     months.  That’s why IEMA and NWS recommend emergency

                     preparedness kits for homes and vehicles.  A home

                     preparedness kit should be stocked with items to help

                     residents stay safe for at least three days.  The

                     kits should include a battery powered-NOAA weather

                     radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, non-perishable

                     food, water, a first-aid kit, extra medications and

                     special items needed for babies, disabled or elderly

                     family members and family pets.

                     “At least one severe winter storm has affected

                     Illinois every winter for the past 100 years." said

                     Chris Miller, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with

                     NWS in Lincoln.  "That’s why it’s so important to

                     take time now to prepare your family, your home and

                     your automobiles in advance of winter weather. Prior

                     to an anticipated storm, heed the warnings and use

                     the time to gather any supplies you will need for a

                     few days, or make adjustments to any travel plans you

                     may have.”

                     During the February blizzard, thousands of motorists

                     were stranded by up to two feet of snow that fell in

                     some areas of the state.  A vehicle emergency

                     preparedness kit can help keep travelers safe until

                     help arrives.  A car or truck kit should include a

                     cell phone and charger, flashlight, extra batteries,

                     first-aid kit, snack foods and water, blankets, extra

                     clothing, gloves and hats, sand or kitty litter,

                     shovel, windshield scraper and a tool kit.

                     In addition to stocking a vehicle preparedness kit,

                     motorists should also take special precautions when

                     traveling during the winter months.  Always check the

                     latest weather conditions along your travel route

                     before leaving on a trip.  Travel during daylight

                     hours on main roads and provide your itinerary to a

                     friend, relative or co-worker.

                     If you become stranded, pull as far off the road as

                     possible, set your hazard lights to flashing and hang

                     or tie a colored cloth (preferable red) to your

                     antenna, window or door.  Stay in your vehicle where

                     rescuers are most likely to find you.  Make sure the

                     exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow, and then run the

                     engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep

                     warm.  Open a window slightly for ventilation when

                     the engine is running, and periodically clear away

                     snow from the exhaust pipe.

                     For more information about emergency preparedness,

                     visit the Ready Illinois website at