ST. PAUL — The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for parts of Minnesota, increasing the urgency for all Minnesotans to be ready for snow and ice. The weather service is alerting residents in parts of Minnesota they could see four to six inches of snow by Tuesday evening.
This watch comes at the start of Winter Hazard Awareness Week which runs November 4-8. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) will share preparedness messages on its Facebook page and Twitter with the hashtag #WinterReady.
“Simple steps can prevent injury and provide peace of mind,” HSEM Director Kris Eide said. “Now is the time to be ready yourself and talk to your neighbors to see if they may need help when the weather creates challenges.”
HSEM suggests helping neighbors or relatives during the winter by:
• Shoveling a driveway or sidewalk for those who shouldn’t engage in strenuous physical activity.
• Helping to change the batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
• Making sure everyone has boots, hats and gloves.
• Spreading sand, cat litter or anti-icing product on sidewalks and driveways as needed.
• Offering rides when it’s slippery or snowy.
• Checking on neighbors and relatives if there’s a power outage.
• Helping create a winter survival kit to keep in vehicles. It should include a blanket, hat, boots, gloves, flashlight, snacks, matches, a tin cup to melt snow for drinking water and a bright ribbon to tie on the vehicle’s antenna to alert authorities help is needed.
In 2012, there were 5,945 crashes on snow- and ice-covered roads in Minnesota. Those crashes killed 17 people.
“It pays to review winter driving skills,” says State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske. “Road conditions can change very quickly. One poor decision can impact many people on the road.”
The HSEM website at hsem.dps.mn.gov contains additional information for each day of
Winter Hazard Awareness Week.
• Monday, November 4 Winter Storms and Weather
Warning — Life-threatening winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours.
Watch — Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36-48 hours.
• Tuesday, November 5 Outdoor Winter Safety
Avoid overexertion. If you feel chest pain, stop and seek help.
Know the signs of frostbite; they include burning, numbness, tingling and itching.
• Wednesday, November 6 Winter Fire Safety
Damaged or downed utility lines can present a fire hazard.
Generators used during power outages can be hazardous if not used properly.
• Thursday, November 7 Indoor Winter Safety
The danger of carbon monoxide poisoning is greatest during the winter when doors and windows stay closed.
Winter months are the best to test your home for radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer.
• Friday, November 8 Winter Driving
Adjust your speed to road conditions and increase following distance.
Display a bright ribbon or bandana on your vehicle car to alert authorities when you need assistance.
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
About the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Homeland Security and Emergency Management helps Minnesotans prevent, prepare for, mitigate, respond to and recover from emergencies and disasters. HSEM staff members are helping Minnesota communities recover from six federally declared disasters from 2011 through 2013.