While we have experienced a pretty mild winter so far, chances are more cold is on the way. In addition to cold temperatures, winter can also mean dangerous driving conditions. As we saw with the out-of-nowhere ice storm a couple of years ago, it’s best to be prepared. I want to take this time to encourage our local residents to think about the safety measures you can take in advance. The Missouri Department of Public Safety provides several resources to help you plan and prepare for Missouri’s winter weather.
One way to be prepared is to know what popular weather terms mean. Brush up on your weather lingo by familiarizing yourself with these winter storm terms:
• Wentzville Snow Emergency this is issued by the Mayor and City Administrator and requires the removal of all automobiles from public roadways for the purpose of allowing the removal of snow, ice or any other accumulated precipitation. Any vehicles in violation may be ticketed or towed.
• Winter Storm Watch indicates that severe winter weather may affect our area within 12-48 hours.
• Winter Storm Warning indicates severe winter weather is in the area or expected immediately and can be life threatening.
• Ice Storm Warning is issued for ice accumulations of a quarter-inch or more.
• Blizzard Warning is issued when sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour or greater and considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow (reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile) are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.
• Frost/Freeze Warning is issued when below freezing temperatures are expected.
You can also plan ahead for winter by following these tips:
• Create a family emergency plan and an emergency kit with bottled water and canned and dried food that can be prepared without cooking in case of a power outage.
• Add the following supplies to your disaster supply kit: rock salt to melt ice on walkways; sand to improve traction; snow shovels and other snow-removal equipment.
• Secure an alternate fuel source such as firewood or a generator. Make sure your fireplace functions properly. If you have a generator, make sure you have fuel and that it functions properly. Only operate the generator outdoors. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
• Create a winter car kit and keep it in the trunk of the car. This includes: windshield scraper and small broom, flashlight, blanket, spare radio with batteries, snacks, water, jumper cables, flares and matches, shovel, sand or shingles to give tires traction, extra hats, socks and mittens, first aid kit, fluorescent distress flag.
• Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
When winter-weather conditions are expected, listen to a local radio station or television network, or tune in to a NOAA weather radio for weather reports and emergency information. Also, stay tuned to the City of Wentzville website and social media channels for the latest City-specific updates. If winter-weather conditions exist or are expected, drive only if absolutely necessary. If you must drive, check the Missouri Department of Transportation’s website at www.modot.org for travel conditions or call the Missouri Road Condition Report Line at (888) 275-6636.