Reviewing alerts and preparing for the winter weather season

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(KTIV) – With how cold it is, it’s a good time to start thinking about dealing with winter weather.

In fact, November 8 is Winter Weather Awareness Day in Nebraska and Iowa.

The official start of winter is getting closer and closer.

We’ve already had accumulating snow in parts of Siouxland in October.

So it’s a great time to start making preparations for winter weather.

“Putting together a preparedness kit that they can put in their car so that, if they were to get stuck in a wintery situation, they are better prepared to handle that,” said Peter Rogers, NWS Sioux Falls Warning Coordinator. “It may be slick, slicker than they remember and they need to slow down and leave extra time to reach their destination, whether that’s work or school.”

It’s also a good opportunity to revisit the difference the difference between a watch, a warning, and an advisory.

As a storm approaches, a watch may be issued a few days ahead of time.

“It just means that conditions are looking favorable for a winter storm to develop during that time frame. It doesn’t mean that it necessarily will happen,” said Rogers.

At this point, your focus should be on planning for impacts from the potential storm.

Once a warning is issued, the impacts are imminent or are already occurring and action needs to be taken.

“If people don’t take action there could be a potential threat to life or property so at that point preparations should be made,” said Rogers.

An advisory is another type of alert that may be issued for a lower end event.

“A winter storm is still going to impact the area but the impacts will be less. It still could become problematic if people don’t take the proper precautions,” said Rogers.

One thing that is new this year is a Snow Squall Warning.

“How this might be different than a normal snowstorm is that it affects a relatively small area so that you could be driving along in relatively benign conditions then coming up to basically a wall of whiteout in very little notice,” said Rogers.

Rogers doesn’t anticipate this being used very often in this area.

“They are not as common here in the Northern Plains. We’re mostly concerned about these in the Great Lakes region,” said Rogers.

But should it be issued, you should make sure to stay off the roads and limit travel.

It’s all to make sure people are safe for when the fall colors change to the white stuff.

There are several things you can do to be safe this winter season.

Make sure to build a survival kit for your car with a flashlight, emergency snacks, and water.

Take extra time to travel, drive slow and leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you.

Also have your headlights on to help other drivers see you in the poor visibility.

Jaret Lansford

Jaret Lansford

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