Colorado Winter Weather Awareness Week - 10/24-30

This October 24-30, Governor Ritter and Colorado's Division of Emergency Management joins the National Weather Service to remind Coloradans about Winter Weather Preparedness.  With the first major storm of the season hitting the high country and other areas of the state, the timing couldn't be better.

There are a number of resources available to keep you, your family and friends prepared and informed as the snow and ice return to Colorado.  The National Weather Service maintains a comprehensive Winter Weather links page that provides a number of Colorado-specific reports, avalanche information and preparedness information.  In addition to keeping up with the latest NWS Colorado Weather Advisories/Watches and Warnings, you should know what your local "sources" for emergency information, including available sms/text/email alerts, websites, local contact numbers and emails.  These local sources will be the best contacts for specific hazard and response actions in your area or the area to which you are traveling.  For specific tips on preparedness, there are some great winter preparedness checklists available online from READYColorado.

Each day this week we, along with the National Weather Service, will be emphasizing a certain aspect of winter preparedness including winter travel safety, watches/warnings/advisories, high winds, wind chill temperatures and hypothermia, and avalanche safety.

We are kicking off the week with a focus on winter travel safety.  At the beginning of the winter season and periodically through the season, it is essential to ensure your vehicle(s) are equipped to head out into the snow.

Suggestions on how to winterize your car include:
  • Battery and ingnition system should be in top condition and battery terminals clean
  • Ensure antifreeze levels are sufficient to avoid freezing
  • Ensure the heater and defroster work properly
  • Check and repair windshield wiper equipment; ensure proper washer fluid level
  • Ensure the thermostat works properly
  • Check lights and flashing hazard lights for serviceability
  • Check for leaks and crimped pipes in the exhaust system; repair or replace as necessary
  • Check breaks for wear and fluid levels
  • Check oil for level and weight - heavier oils congeal more at low temps
  • Consider snow tires, snow tires with studs or chains
  • Replace fuel and air filters - keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining full tank
  • Remember to keep a winter weather emergency kit in your vehicle, just in case...
Winter Weather Vehicle Emergency Kit - more from READYColorado
  • Extra clothing, such as blankets, coats, hat and gloves
  • Shovel
  • Flares and jumper cables
  • Water and foods, such as trail mix and snacks
Driving safely on icy roads
  • DO NOT PASS snow plows or sand trucks in operation!!!
  • Allow extra time for any travel
  • Decrease speed - stopping on ice and snow requires greater distance
  • Brake gently to avoid sliding or skidding
  • If your brakes do lock up, ease up on the brakes to regain traction
  • Use lower gears in poor conditions to maintain traction
  • Be careful when crossing bridges/overpasses as they will ice faster than roadways
Help, I am stuck!!!
  • Do not spin your wheels - this is only going to dig you in deeper
  • Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to clear snow immediately around the tire(s)
  • Use a shovel to clear snow around the wheels and underside of the car
  • Use sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in front of the tires to increase traction
Be sure to check out our earlier article for more Winter Weather Preparedness Tips!