It may be cozy to be at home during a winter storm, watching snowflakes hit the windows. Without preparation, winter weather can be a difficult experience.
Climatological winter began October 15 and ends April 15.
Keep track of local weather forecasts. The National Weather Services offers forecasts as well as a wealth of winter weather and winter safety information, at National Weather Service.
Minnesotans with disabilities know all too well that they may struggle if they get snowed in, especially if the power goes out. That can be especially true in rural areas.
It’s always a good idea to have heating systems, chimneys and fireplaces checked before they go into regular use. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, too.
Make sure there is an ample supply of medications and personal care products on hand. Many people with disabilities rely on having adequate medical supplies of all types. Don’t run out due to bad weather.
Stock up on nonperishable foods and bottled water for such emergencies. One rule of thumb is to have a three to five-day supply of food for each person in a household. Make sure pets and service animals have a good supply of food and water, too.
The University of Minnesota Extension Service has information keeping food cold during power outages, and food preparation during power outages. Learn more at Extreme weather resources. Print out copies before the power goes out.
Keep home first aid kits stocked. Keep a good supply of flashlights, batteries and candles. Make sure candles are never left unattended.
Make sure phones and other devices are charged if winter storms are imminent.
Keep a supply of reading materials and other things to do in case of winter storms. If possible, have a plan for work.
Most importantly, have a buddy system of people to check in with on a daily basis.
The winter weather stories are compiled from several sources. Thanks to the Minnesota Council on Disability, Disability Hub, Senior Linkage Line, University of Minnesota Extension Service, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Minnesota Department of Commerce, Hennepin County, Minnesota Department of transportation, national Weather Service, Minneapolis Sidewalk Repair Hunters, Saintly City Snow Angels, Heat’s On, National Safety Council and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.