Understand a Winter Storm:
Winter storms can bring snow, sleet, and freezing rain across the entire United States and its territories. Even Hawaii gets snow in its Big Island, and major cities as far south as Atlanta and Dallas have been paralyzed by snow and ice. Blizzards occur when strong wind causes blowing snow and whiteout conditions, making roads impassable. Thousands of people are injured or killed every year in traffic accidents related to slippery roads from winter storms.
This website is designed to teach you how to stay safe before, during, and after a winter storm. You will find information on winter alerts, science and hazards, snow coverage maps, and information describing the different types of winter storms.
Winter Watch(s) vs. Warning(s):
Winter Watch(s): Be Prepared!
Winter Warning(s): Take Action!
Winter Advisory (s): Take Action!
Before a Winter Storm:
Find out what you can do before a Winter Storm strikes. Preparation is key to staying safe and minimizing impacts.
- Be Weather-Ready: Check the forecast regularly to see if you're at risk for Winter Weather. Listen to local news or check the Norman National Weather Service webpage to stay informed about Winter watches and warnings.
- Sign up for WichitaFalls CodeRED: The number one way to receive an emergency alert from Wichita Falls OEM and NWS is through a CodeRED message. Visit Emergency Alerts for more information on how to sign up and keep your information up to date.
- Build or Re-Stock Your Kit: Have critical items to help you survive before help arrives. During large-scale disasters, help could be delayed. Also develop a car emergency kit that has food, water, blankets, and flashlights.
- Create a Communications Plan: Have a family plan that includes an emergency meeting place and related information.
- Know your Risks: Learn about carbon monoxide poisoning, hypothermia, and frostbite.
- Prepare Your Home:
- Identify places in the community where you can go to get warm such as libraries and shopping malls.
- Cover windows with drapes or shades.
- Weather-strip doors and windows.
- Add insulation to keep the cold out.
During a Winter Storm:
Remain aware and monitor local radio and television outlets. Avoid extended periods of outdoor activities at all costs and check on your neighbors.
- Stay Informed: Listen to radio and television, including NOAA Weather Radio if possible, check the Internet and social media for information and updates.
- Road Conditions: Stay off the roads if at all possible. Vist, DriveTexas.org for road conditions. If trapped in your car, stay inside and call 9-1-1.
- Clothing: Wear layers and cover your head and limit your time outside.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids and stay away from energy/caffeinated drinks.
- Being neighborly: Check on family members, seniors, and neighbors.
- Know the Risks: Watch for frostbite and hypothermia.
After a Winter Storm:
When the snow and ice melt, it's tempting to relieve that cabin fever and hit the roads. But melting snow can cause floods, partially cleared roads may be icy or blocked, creeks and rivers often overflow from the rush of melting snow and ice. Heavy snow may have knocked down power lines and caused gas leaks, both of which can be deadly but are not obvious at first glance. Follow the tips below to stay safe and check the other links on this site for actions to take before, during, and after a winter storm.
- Avoid Flood Roads: Standing water hides many dangers including toxins and chemicals. There may be sharp objects under the water or the road could have collapsed.
- Avoid Disaster Areas: Do not visit disaster areas. Your presence may hamper rescue and other emergency operations.
- Heed Road Closed and Cautionary Signs: Road closure and other cautionary signs are put in place for your safety. Pay attention to them!
- Contact Your Family and Loved Ones: Let your family and close friends know that you’re okay so they can help spread the word. Register with or search the American Red Cross’s Safe and Well listing.