The National Weather Service refers to winter storms as the “deceptive killers” because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm such as traffic accidents on icy roads and of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold.

Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.

Winter storms may also include high winds, sleet, freezing rain, frozen roads and power outages. It is important to be prepared for winter weather before it strikes.

Winter Weather Awareness Week is Monday through Dec. 1. The Fort Bragg community should take this time to prepare for winter by following the checklist below.

Prepare an emergency kit.

Make a Family communication plan.  Your Family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.

Winterize your home by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.

Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.

Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.

Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.

All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and the area around it kept clear.  Be conscious of carbon monoxide – the silent killer

Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.

Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).

Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.

Winterize Your Vehicle

Antifreeze levels

Battery and ignition system


Exhaust system

Fuel and air filters

Heater and defroster

Lights and flashing hazard lights



Windshield wiper equipment

Good winter tires

Dress for the Weather

Know the terms:

Freezing rain

- Rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees and power lines.


- Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and become slippery.

Winter weather advisory

- Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.

Winter storm watch

- A winter storm is possible in your area. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for more information.

Winter storm warning

- A winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area.

Blizzard warning

- 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. Stay inside and monitor your local radio or television station for more information.

If you must go outside dress in layers and watch for signs of hypothermia.

Protect your pets by bringing them inside.